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A History of the Nineteenth Century, Year by Year

And still the hordes of gold seekers came


While these negotiations were under way, Colonel Sutter had begun the erection of a mill at Colonna on the American branch of the Sacramento River. In January one Marshall, who was engaged in digging a race-way for the mill for Colonel Sutter, found a metal which he had not seen before, and, on testing it in the fire, found that it was gold. The "finds" were sent to Sacramento and tested, with the result that they were declared to be pure gold. The mint at Philadelphia also declared the metal to be gold, and the President referred to the fact in his annual message to Congress.

[Sidenote: Influx of Gold Seekers]

Then the gold seekers poured into California. They arrived in multitudes from all parts of America and other countries--thousands tracking across the plains and mountains with ox-teams and on foot, and other thousands crossing the Isthmus with scarcely less difficulty, while around the Horn a steady procession of ships passed up the coast of South America and Mexico to the new El Dorado. In two years the population of California increased 100,000, and still the hordes of gold seekers came.

Wisconsin, the thirtieth State, was admitted May 29. It had been one of the first districts to receive the visits of the fur traders and the French missionaries, who went thither in 1639.

[Sidenote: Death of John Quincy Adams]

John Quincy Adams was overtaken by death in the midst of his career. On February 21 he entered the House and took his seat. Suddenly he fell to the floor, stricken with apoplexy. As he was carried to the Speaker's room and was laid on a lounge, he feebly murmured: "This is the last of earth. I am content." He died on February 23.

[Sidenote: His diplomatic career]

[Sidenote: Morse on Adams]

John Quincy Adams's long career is unique in American history. At the age of eleven he accompanied his father on a diplomatic mission to Europe, and early acquired a knowledge of French and German. When barely fourteen he went to St. Petersburg as private secretary to the American Minister, Dana. At sixteen Adams served as one of the secretaries of the American Plenipotentiaries during the negotiations resulting in the treaty of peace and independence of 1783. At the age of twenty-seven he was appointed Minister to Holland by President Washington, and afterward was Minister to Berlin and Commissioner to Sweden. After serving for some years in the United States Senate he was sent, in 1809, as Minister to Russia, where he remained till 1815. Then he was transferred to London, where he resided till 1817, when he became Secretary of State. His career as President of the United States and his subsequent Congressional life was honorable in the extreme. Yet Adams's biographer, Morse, has aptly said: "Never did a man of pure life and just purposes have fewer friends or more enemies.... If he could ever have gathered even a small personal following, his character and abilities would have insured him a brilliant and prolonged success; but for a man of his calibre and influence, we see him as one of the most lonely and desolate of the great men of history."

[Sidenote: James Russell Lowell]

During this year James Russell Lowell published his "Bigelow Papers," a humorous satire on the Mexican war in Yankee dialect, the "Indian Summer Reverie," and "A Fable for Critics."

[Sidenote: Death of Donizetti]

[Sidenote: Early operas]

[Sidenote: Prolific compositions]


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