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to great extent, and vast tracts of the upper country are scarcely habitable for any purpose. The coast range of mountains, running parallel with the former, occupies still another large portion of the state, never to be used for farming purposes, and minor ranges and heavy spurs extending far into the plains, together constitute a formidable amount in proportion to the quantity of feasible lands to be found in the State. Considering the aggregate of waste lands, from all the causes above mentioned, it is perhaps no unreasonable estimate, that not more than two fifths of the lands of California, below the great mountains, west, can ever be occupied for farming purposes.
Is this then to be an Agricultural State ? Richness of soil is not the only requisite for the farmer. Timber, good climate and seasonable rains are indispensable. There is little timber of value in the State, save in the vicinity of the rivers, and in remote mountain districts, where it is worthless for such uses. As to the climate, I do not believe another upon earth surpasses it, for health and comfort, at least so far as my observation is concerned, and from my best information. It must be remembered, however, that no rains of importance fall here from the 1st of May to the 1st of November, generally near six months. In a country not well supplied with living springs and durable streams, under such a continuous drought, cultivation cannot progress, and agriculture, as we understand it in the east, cannot prosper. Limited sections of the country are readily irrigated, and others have natural moisture sufficient to supply the growth of vegetables and some of the grains, but to stamp a country agricultural, this essential element must abound.
During most of the dry season, the plains of California are parched, and all vegetation, in many places, becomes entirely dead, so that they burn over for thousands of acres in extent, and crack to a considerable depth. Cultivation of the ground, therefore, for five or six months, is entirely impracticable. It should, however, be remarked, that in some localities, agriculture is pursued with great success, and especially in the valleys surrounding San Fran
cisco Bay, where the lands are less affected by drought. In these sections, winter wheat and spring crops are raised and grow luxuriantly, and are already extensively cultivated; wheat may be sown any time during the winter, or rainy season, and will in. many situations reach maturity before the drought becomes oppressive. But this is by no means universal. The spring grains can be raised with greater certainty, and better success. Indian corn cannot be grown here to advantage, except in low situations, on account of the continued drought and cool nights. In soils adapted to their growth, and where irrigation can be resorted to, vegetables prosper beyond example. The largest turnips, beets, cabbages, &c., that ever fell within my observation, with a fair yield of potatoes, have been produced here, and as for melons of all descriptions, they probably were never surpassed. Water-melons weighing upwards of forty pounds, are often raised, and Valparaiso and other species of the squash or pumpkin tribe, grow to enormous sizes. Fruit prospers generally, when cultivated, and grapes especially, yield wonderfully, and are of delicious flavor.
It is proper, while speaking of the great impediment to agriculture in California--the severe drought that annnually occurs-to state, that less of it is experienced as distance from the coast and the latitude increase. The drought comes later and relaxes earlier in those portions of the country. I have met with refreshing showers even in Sacramento, after the rains had entirely ceased at San Francisco. Much of the country, including the uplands of the mountain slopes, and the large tracts bordering upon the rivers, too low and wet for improvement, is now used for grazing, and will always be more or less thus occupied, and it is not unlikely, that at some future period, the latter grounds may be, to some extent, devoted to the cultivation of rice. But as a whole, the State is, beyond controversy, much better adapted to a pastural than an agricultural use; the climate, seasons and natural capabilities being clearly favorable to such a destination. It cannot, in my belief, become an Agricultural State.
It may not be entirely profitless to make a few suggestions in a plain way, upon the causes that produce the periodical winds
experienced here, and annual droughts and rains that continue, alternately, about one half of the year, of which so much is said. Speculations are often made by travelers on these subjects, but I will venture a simple theory accounting for both, in a manner satisfactory to myself; and never, to my knowledge, advanced by others. These periodical changes are nearly uniform, although not equally severe in the degree of drought or wet experienced. I have here no authors to consult, and as ideas are what I desire to communicate, shall content myself with plain language, that while it may lack technicality, I hope may be intelligible. The winds on the Pacific coast commence their annual current from the north-west, about the first of May. As the sun approaches the northern latitudes at that season, the immense bodies of ice in the polar regions begin to dissolve, and rarefaction of the cold atmosphere takes place there, to a vast extent. Simultaneously, as the sun recedes from the south, a correspondent condensation of the atmosphere ensues in that region. As the rarefaction at the north goes on, vent is naturally sought by the swollen air. At the same time, as the condensation progresses in the south, the vacuum produced must be supplied from abroad, and a current of air is, by the operation of both these causes, hence created, by obvious natural laws. This current, which is no other than the winds under notice, continues as long as the causes operate, and ceases when the sun retires towards the south.
At this period, or about the first of November, commences the counter-action, and the winds, though less strong, or less felt, perhaps, because more bland, prevail from the opposite direction, for nearly the same length of time—six months. From these phenomena, as remote causes, I deduce a theory to account for the alternate wet and dry seasons; and I will barely state the outline, not having time at present, if I were able, to go into a scientific detail of minor considerations bearing upon the question. These westerly winds constantly drive the rain clouds landward, so that for six months, none, or few of them can reach the coast, or approacii near it; and for a like reason, when the current of wind sets from the interior towards the coast, the clouds all take that direction,
and are discharged upon the districts over which they are driven. The exhalations and their condensation and descent in the form of rain, though a subject of great interest, cannot here be discussed; and I will not take time to prove, that the rain clouds in this region are filled by vapor arising from the earth only, but by careful observation for fifteen months, am led to believe this to be the fact.
That the process of forming rain clouds is constantly going on cannot be denied, and the water thus collected must somewhere fall. In the absence of any strong current of wind prevailing in one direction, this vapor, when sufficiently condensed in the upper regions or the atmosphere, would be discharged again upon the earth in the form of rain in the vicinity of its origin. But a strong wind operating constantly to drive these clouds in one direction, would leave dry the districts of country over which it passed, unless a supply were constantly kept up to the windward. These clouds, then, being driven towards the interior and southward, during the summer, cause the rains in the central portions of the continent, at that season. So when the current changes, and the winds prevail in the opposite direction, the rains fall in the upper latitudes, and nearer the coast. For reasons that are obvious, if this theory be based upon the true philosophy, the effects thus produced, are less sensible in regions farther removed from the central action of the prime cause. Consequently, in higher latitudes, and remote from the sea coast, we find the seasons more equable in this respect, and free from extremes of alternate drought and rain.
With my best wishes for the continued prosperity of the Society,
I am most respectfully yours,
H. G. WARNER.
SPECIMENS or TIMBER, &c., FROM THE Pacific Coast. Oak from the Sacramento Valley.—There are several species of oak in California, some of which resemble the oaks of the Eastern States. · The specimen sent is similar in growth and foliage
to the eastern white oak, though it is both more graceful and beautiful. Another species somewhat resembles the rock oak, especially for its glossy leaves. They grow in almost all situations, and upon the plains and prairies appear much like the timber upon the openings in Illinois and Wisconsin; their foliage is, however, much finer. The timber of these oaks has not the strength and firmness of Eastern oaks. There is a dwarf live ouk abounding here, that in its creeping habit forms the most dense and impenetrable chapparal; a safe corert for the wild beasts that inhabit the country. Some of these dwarfs make fine shades and are very picturesque in appearance.
Red Wood.—The timber commonly known by this name, seems to be a species of cedar, as it bears a resemblance to the latter in some particulars. The wood, excepting a thin sap, is brown, and nearly of the same color of red cedar; the growth of the tree is more like that of the arbor vitæ. The timber is firm and heavy, and in this resembles the red cedar, though it is not so fine in texture. The most remarkable characteristic of the tree, is its enormous size : forty-five feet in circumference, and 200 feet high is no uncommon measurement of one of these trees, and they are found larger and taller than this; they split with the greatest ease, and building timber manufactured from them is equal to any. The red woods abound on the coast range of mountains, as also to some extent in the Great Sierras. The timber is said to be very durable.
Sycamore. This tree resembles the common button-wood of the east, though the leaves are smaller, and more like white maple, and the seed is produced in a small stem of six or eight inches in length, studded with balls, a little similar to those of the buttonwood. It is a more graceful tree, and in the open plain is often quite stately. It is common on the rivers of the upper country and the adjacent plains.
Willow.—This abounds upon the rivers and low lands, and especially on the borders of the Thulares; and although there seems