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March 5, 1863: Near New Almaden

March 5, 2013

Casa Grande 07

Ore specimens, New Almaden Mining Museum; by Tom Hilton, on Flickr

[Today], early, found Hoffmann and me on the steamer for Alviso, our speculator along. He thrust five twenty-dollar pieces into my hand, begged me to accept it as a present, which I most virtuously refused, except thirty dollars to pay our expenses on the proposed trip. He had all the papers necessary to make the purchase. The company was formed—twenty-six shareholders, the stock to be—dollars. He had the specimens of ore in his pocket, a lawyer engaged in San Jose to search titles, even pen and ink to make the Frenchman, on whose land the rich mine was, sign immediately, and blank paper on which I was to write a favorable report to the company. All the way up he could talk of nothing but “cinnabar,” “quicksilver,” and “ledges.”

Alviso was reached and we took the stage to San Jose, where we hired a private conveyance to the mines. We found the farm and the Frenchman, but not the mine—no trace of one. The ore had come from the Guadalupe Mine. It was evidently a plot by which he expected to sell his land (for which he had only a squatter title) “unsight and unseen” to persons in this city, whose mining zeal should outrun their discretion. Yet he pretended that he had a mine—he would show it the next day. The end was that the speculator, after talking hard French, harder Spanish, but the hardest English, left most disgusted, his bright visions of sudden wealth gone, and we took up our way to the mountains near, promising to return in a week and examine a mine he would then show us.

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