ed the East were at first disbelieved, but when the private letters of army officers and men in authority were published, an indescribable gold fever took possession of the nation east of the Alleghanies. All the energetic and daring, all the physically sound of all ages, seemed bent on reaching the new El Dorado. "The old Gothic instinct of invasion seemed to survive and thrill in the fiber of our people," and the camps and gulches and mines of California witnessed a social and political phenomenon unique in the history of the world - the spirit and romance of which have been immortalized in the pages of Bret Harte.
Before 1850 the population of California had risen from 15,000, as it was in 1847, to 100,000, and the average weekly increase for six weeks thereafter was 50,000. The novelty of this situation produced in many minds the most marvelous development. "Every glance westward was met by a new ray of intelligence; every drawn breath of western air brought inspiration; every step taken was over an
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