Frank Leward: Memorials
Same to the Same
Same to the Same.
San Francisco, October 1849.
Dear old Bampton Just a few lines to tell you we have got here for a wonder for I had to do all the navigating myself the old man wasn't the least use. It is smooth almost all the way. We went close by the Navigator Islands a bleak rugged looking place from the sea. After we got through the tropics pretty well we put into Honolulu. That is a jolly little place the people are the most simple easy going race you can imagine they came down to the ship with garlands of yellow flowers round their hats. We were introduced to the King Kamehamehamehaw or something he is as black as ink but very polite. I and a young fellow on board took a trap and drove right across the neck of land where the Town is and came out on the top of some page 183high land and had a splendid view of the flat country and the sea on the other side. All the way along were bananas, the same we got in Demerara or something like them when I was there and guavas growing wild and the people all seemed pleased to see you. The women on horseback like men. Then there were cocoanut-trees and a lot of other tropical trees looking awfully pretty and cool. When we left a lot of dark well made boys swam out after the ship to say good-bye and dive for the money we threw them. I was sorry to leave them and promised to go back some day.
I suppose that beautiful Island will be spoilt before long if California goes on increasing. The girls are very simple-minded they come out at night and dance their native dances and are almost too good-natured considering the set of men we have on board. The language sounds very much like Maori and some words are the same.
It took us a month more getting here. This is a strange place it beats everything I ever saw. It was founded by Spanish Missionaries who came to convert the Indians and built churches and convents and schools and taught them to plant vineyards and orchards and corn and did a lot of good they say. It belonged to the Spanish Mexicans then now it's part of the United States and a nice sort of government it is. Its chiefly canvas very few wooden houses are up yet but they soon will be. It's the highway to the gold fields and filled with an extraordinary crowd of all the neer do wells in the world and some pretty clever people too who might do page 184well if they liked. I suppose I'm in the first lot so I must adopt their ways.
Our men have all bolted and left the old man and myself and the old bosun to take care of the ship. It's impossible to get any sailors here they only laugh at you if you try and if we could there's no cargo to take back. Everything that comes here is greedily devoured and nothing goes away but gold so we are going to lay the old tub up and look out for ourselves. We made lots of money on the trip and I got a share. The captain I expect will stop in town till hes drunk all his money I dont know what he will do then. The bosun says he hates landsharking and such a beastly lot of gold and he'll soon get a ship somewhere. As for me like every one else Im off to the diggins tomorrow so good bye for the present. If Im alive and not shot III write again when I get a chance. If you send a letter to the Blow House San Francisco, it is a blow house, I may get it when I come back. Do send me an answer to my question. I feel almost happy again at the thought of going to Sierra Nevada and new country Yours