During this unsettled period (1849), the “judge of first instance,” or alcalde, sat each day in the little school-room on the plaza of San Francisco, trying cases, and rendering that speedy justice that was then more desirable than exact justice, since men’s time, in those early days of 1849, was worth from sixteen dollars to one hundred dollars per day. The judge listened to brief arguments, announced his decision, took his fees, and called up another case; hardly once in a hundred trials was there any thought of an appeal to the Governor at Monterey.
CHARLES HOWARD SHINN,
Like the senators Cineas found at Rome, they were an assembly of kings, above law, who dealt out justice fresh and evenly balanced as from the hand of the eternal. In all the uprisings in California there has never been manifested any particular penchant on the part of the people for catching and hanging criminals. They do not like it. Naturally the law detests vigilance because vigilance is a standing reproach to law. Let the law look to it and do its duty.
HUBERT HOWE BANCROFT,
in Popular Tribunals.
Older than man or beast or bird,
Ancient when God first spake and Adam heard—
We gaze with souls profoundly stirred
And plead for one revealing word.
But the great trees all are silent.
BENJAMIN FAY MILLS.
VINTAGE IN THE GOLDEN LAND.
O fruit of changeless, ever-changing beauty!
Heavy with summer and the gift of love—
Caressingly I gather and lay you down;
Ensilvered as with dew, the innocent bloom
Of quiet days, yet thrilling with the warmth
Of life—tumultuous blood o’ the earth!
The vital sap, the honey-laden juice
Dripping with ripeness, yields to murmuring bee
A pleasant burden; and the meadow-lark
With slow, voluptuous beak the nectar drinks
From the pierced purple.
* * * * *
How good it is, to sense the vineyard
To touch the fresh-veined leaves, the straggling stems,
The heavy boughs that bend along the ground;
And like a gay Bacchante, pluck the fruit
And taste the imperial flavors, beauty-wild
And singing child-songs with the bee and bird,
Deep in the vineyard’s heart, ’neath the open sky—
Wide, wide, and blue, filled with sun-flooded space
And the silent song of the ripening of days!—
Eternal symbol of the bearing earth—
Harvest and vintage.
Whatever you believe when you are alone at night with the little imp of conscience seated on the bedpost and whispering to you what to do, whatever you believe to be best for yourself and best for your city at that time, you do that thing and you won’t be far wrong.