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The quantity of ore milled was 3,767 tons, the yield of which was $71 50 per ton. The supplies consumed during the year cost $12,006. A balance of $33,000 was paid on a mortgage for an adverse title. There were three dividends paid during the year, aggregating $80,000. The bullion receipts of the Golden Chariot for the calendar year 1870, as compiled by Mr. R. Wheeler of the San Francisco Stock Report, have been as follows:

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Of the less productive mines the Red Jacket and the Mahogany have furnished excellent ore. The vein of the former is said to be small and very hard, but rich. The Mahogany vein is reported to be both wide and of good quality, but for some reason the company has been forced to lay an assessment. The Red Mountain, Chipmunk, Corduroy, Peck and Porter, Blue Jacket, and Belle Peck have produced ore. The Poorman mine has been closed; probably for good, as all available ore has been extracted, and there is little apparent encouragement for further. prospecting. The Owyhee Company, owning this mine, has been for some years occupying itself largely with custom-milling, and looking about meanwhile for a mining property. The company worked the Allison mine for a while on lease, and it turned out some very good ores, resembling those of Reese River, in Nevada, more nearly than any other Owyhee ores which I have seen; but their occurrence in spots necessitated the extraction of much barren rock, and the mine was closed, as the expenses exceeded the receipts. The Owyhee Company subsequently purchased the Oro Fino mine, and work has been commenced upon it. This mine, under its former owners, was highly productive and profitable. The Oro Fino is probably the strongest vein in the district, and carries large amounts of fair mill-rock. Litigation only has prevented its working for several years past; but it has now fallen into skillful and energetic hands, and will be again an important producer of bullion.

At the close of 1870, seven mills were running with tolerable regularity in Owyhee County, as follows: Owyhee, 30 stamps; Ida Elmore, 20 stamps; Cosmos, 10 stamps; Webfoot, -; Shoenbar, 5

stamps; Minear, 3 stamps; Black's, (in Flint,) 5 stamps. There were also two arrastras constantly running, and a mill nearly completed at Fairview. The milling capacity of Owyhee district, leaving out the Rising Star, Black's, and Iowa Mills, in Flint, is about 3,500 tons per month, and this production will probably be maintained by the mines through the summer of 1871. The product of the latter half of 1870 was much in advance of the previous half year, amounting to more than 9,000 tons; and the bullion production has increased in proportion. The exact figures have not come to hand, but I learn that the bullion shipments during the last six months of the year 1870 were more than twothirds of the whole product of the preceding twelve months. Reckoning for the calendar year 1870, the product of Owyhee County, according to the figures of Mr. Atlee, given on a foregoing page, was $842,935.


Water was tolerably plenty in the basin during the spring and early summer, and the yield from the placers was, perhaps, better than in the last two years, when the failure of the winter-snows left the spring without a steady supply of water. But the sanguine hopes of many who looked for a large increase in the bullion production of the basin have been disappointed. The fact is that new fields of mining nearer the railroad are draining Idaho of her nomadic mining population, and leav ing the diggings in the hands of fewer men, who, though they may do better individually than heretofore, do not produce so much in the ag gregate.

Nevertheless, it must not be inferred that the placer-mines of Boise are exhausted. They still produce a large portion of the bullion yield of the Territory, as may be seen by reference to Mr. Atlee's table, at the beginning of this chapter, in which the shipments from the first five localities named are to be ascribed chiefly to this source. It is here, moreover, that single claims are reported as yielding the largest sums. Of sixty-four placer-claims in Boise County, reported to the Census Bureau, employing four hundred and seventy-one men for an average period of 4.15 months, at average wages of $73 per month, the aggregate yield was about $360,000, or $7 per day per hand. This list of claims includes a portion of those at Granite Creek, Placerville, Idaho City, Boise, and Centerville. The highest yield from any one claim is $29,000, and there are a considerable number ranging from this sum down to $10,000-about 20 per cent. of the claims reported producing each $10,000 or more.

The growth of quartz-mining is the natural compensation for the decline of the placers. Aside from other characteristic differences between these industries, there is one which has not been sufficiently weighed. Quartz-mining is not only more permanent than placer-mining; it is more productive for the number of men employed than the aver age placer-mining. But the expenses of materials, machinery, and skilled labor are heavier, so that this form of mining must develop later and more slowly than the irregular pioneer activity of the gulches and diggings. In Boise Basin, the vast extent of placer-ground is, I hold, a certain indication of resources which will some day be exploited by deep mining. But little has been accomplished in this direction, during the past year, in this part of the Territory.

The Elkhorn Mill, in Boise County, was reported to be idle. One or two enterprises at Granite Creek, which appears to be the most active quartz-mining camp in the county, have been moderately successful. The following account of this locality is extracted from the correspondence of the Scientific Press of San Francisco, dated June 30, 1870:

The Gold Hill mine and mill are situated on Granite Creek, about three miles from Placerville. The ledge runs northeast and southwest, has an easterly dip, and crops out boldly for over half a mile. The average width is 3 feet. The company has been vigorously at work for years, and has one 80-foot, one 120-foot, and one 100-foot shaft, and three very large tunnels, all on the ledge. We entered first the lower level or tunnel, passing along 450 feet to where the ledge was tapped. We then went in the left drift on the lode, a distance of 80 feet, and here found the ledge about 3 feet wide. and heavily charged with sulphurets and free cold

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used, and the loaded car going down hauls up the empty car. At this mine are employed some thirty miners, who are paid $75 (currency) and found.

On both sides of the creek we find a granite formation, in which are the veins of quartz holding gold with silver and sulphurets, the gold predominating. The ore resembles somewhat that of Grass Valley. There were no sulphurets on top, those being first reached at a depth of 60 to 75 feet. The superintendent of the mine is Mr. David Coughanour, a very clever and enterprising gentleman. The mine has paid expenses of all kinds.

The mill was erected by the Chickahominy Company at an early day, at a cost of $75,000; but the present company bought it at a low price not long ago. It has twenty-five stamps, of 850 pounds each. To each four stamps there is a Hungerford concentrator, which does very well, I am informed, and gives satisfaction. A Hendy concentrator, also four large Wheeler pans, and two large settlers, are used. The engine is of 75 horse-power, with cylinder 36 by 14 inches, and was built by the Miners' Foundry of San Francisco; the two large boilers were made by the Coffee & Risdon Works. Three and a half cords of wood, costing $4 per cord, are burned daily. Twenty stamps were in operation at the time of my visit, but the other five were soon to be set at work. Some 35 tons are now put through in twenty-four hours. A clean-up, while I was there, of nine and a half days' run, gave 55 pounds of amalgam, which yielded $6,000. On account of the sulphurets, only about one-half of the gold is extracted from the ore. The company has now on hand some 300 tons of sulphurets, and they are taking steps with regard to introducing Kustel's process for working these. The mill is owned by Thomas Mootrey, jr., William Lynch, and others.

The western extension of the Gold Hill mine is owned by Chandler & Co., who have a tunnel in some 40 feet on the ledge. The vein is from 1 to 3 feet wide, and contains good ore, giving upward of $30 per ton in the mill.

The Eastern Extension, popularly called the Growl and Go Ledge, is owned by M. and J. Eissler. The shaft is down about 35 feet, being all the way in decomposed matter, the sulphurets not being yet reached. The company talk of erecting a tenstamp mill near that of the Gold Hill.

The Yellow Jacket mine, located half a mile up the creek, is owned by C. P. Emery, G. White, J. Dixon, and others. The lode runs northeast and southwest, and averages 2 feet in width. The tunnel is in 170 feet. The rock contains principally free gold, but they expect to find sulphurets as they go deeper. The ten-stamp mill is now being built, and will be running in a few weeks.

The May Flower mine is a fine-looking location owned by Turner & Young. The vein runs northeast and southwest, and averages 3 feet in width. There is a tunnel 250 feet long; also, a shaft 90 feet deep. The boys have been working three years and doing well, and it would pay to have a mill here if the owners of the mine were able to build it. They have been working their ore successfully for three years with an arrastra. The apparatus for revolving the stones is quite unique, being a horizontal hurdy-gurdy wheel, 24 feet in diameter."

Besides these mines there are several others, as the Gray Eagle, Columbia, Web-Foot, Lawyer, Pioneer, Golden Gate, etc., which I was unable to visit. One fact particularly struck me here, and that was the abundance of timber close to the mines.

The same writer describes as follows two mines in the neighborhood of Centerville:

Twelve miles east from Centerville, on Grimes Creek, is the lode of the Mammoth Gold Mining Company, located in 1863. The average width of the lode is about 2 feet. The vein-matter contains free gold and sulphurets, and the ore generally averages $50 per ton. I find that last summer there were 200 tons crushed, which yielded $90 to the ton. There is a shaft sunk 160 feet on the ledge, and a tunnel some 300 feet long, which strikes the vein at a distance of 150 feet. The company has an eight-stamp mill, run by water-power, built in 1865, which cost some $3,000. The mine has paid all expenses. The owners are Clarkson & Brown, old pioneers of this district. Four miles farther up the creek is the King Company's ledge. This vein is small, but very rich and with well-defined walls. There is an eight-stamp steam-mill here, but I understand that not much work is being done at present. Want of time prevented my visiting this place.

These extracts, which might be still further multiplied, will suffice to show that in the great placer-mining region of Idaho there is an underlying basis for permanent mining, which will be developed as the superficial industry declines and commercial conditions improve into a steadily productive source of wealth. From this point of view, encouragement is to be found in the diversion of labor for the time being to farming and stock-raising, and in the increased prosperity of those pursuits. "The

grain, hay, and vegetable crop of Boise and other agricultural districts," says the Boise Statesman of July 1, 1870, "is better than ever; and a confidence is felt among that portion of our community that has never existed before. As the placer-mines decline, persons forsake them for the more permanent pursuits of farming and stock-breeding, and in the end the country will undoubtedly be the gainer. Several droves of cattle for breeding are coming into the Territory, one man alone, in the Raft River country, receiving an accession of three thousand head. Another has just started in the same region with fifteen hundred, and the Bruneau and Weiser Valleys are constantly receiving additions of settlers who propose to permanently engage in farming and raising stock."

The United States assay office at Boise will be put in operation in July, 1871.


During the last two years it has been my lot to travel upward of twenty thousand miles in various directions across the States and Territories of the inland basin and Pacific slope of this continent. The object of these journeys was primarily connected with the gold and silver mines upon our public domain, and such observations as I was able to make of a general scientific character were necessarily incidental, rapid, and superficial. They are not offered as contributions to exact and detailed knowledge, but rather as suggestions, the value and interest of which will doubtless vanish in the light of more careful investigations, but which may, for the present, be useful in awakening attention, and furnishing a broad, general outline of certain great natural features not yet universally familiar to the public.

Indeed, while the defects of hurried observations during rapid and extensive journeys are sufficiently obvious, they may be said to possess, nevertheless, a certain advantage in facilitating the formation of comprehensive views on the large scale. The close and minute study which is necessarily bestowed upon details, by the votaries of every natural science, is not always favorable to generalizations and wide comparisons. The slow accumulation of facts which forms the essential foundation of science is not itself science. Its tendency is toward the exaggeration of differences rather than the recognition of similarities. Under the magnifying lens of the close observer, the smallest phenomena become important; and while one eye is at the microscope we cannot see things in their true proportions with the other. A clerical friend once remarked that in addition to his ordinary readings of the Bible by chapters or texts, he was accustomed occasionally to peruse a whole book at a sitting, in order to gain, what he was likely to lose in minuter study, the sense of general scope and spirit. In like manner, I venture to think it is well for us to turn now and then from the texts of nature and read with freer glance and wider range her gospels and epistles, to leave for a while her sentences, fine-graven on stone or leaf, and skim her ponderous volumes, bound in continents and margined by the sea.

The illustration may be applied in another aspect. As the Bible consists of many books, of different ages and human authorships, yet all constituting the one Revelation, so each of the natural sciences comes to its full revelation by successive contributions. This is especially true of physical geography and geology, two sciences which have not yet reached the stage of general formula-two Bibles, of which all the books have not been written. Each country seems to have a new aspect of the truth to present, enlarging and modifying the whole. Thus we have had a geology founded upon the carefully studied phenomena of a small section of Europe. A new era in the history of that science was opened by the work of the British survey and the rise of the British school of geologists. In this country we have had an American geology based on the microcosm presented by the States of New York and Pennsylvania. In all these different geologies, the presence and activity of the same dynamic agents are recognized; but the relative importance assigned to each naturally varies. And the scientific world now looks to the unexplored regions of America, Asia, and Africa to furnish the necessary corrective equations before the final formula can be evolved.

It seems to me that the regions west of the Rocky Mountains have something important to tell us in dynamic geology. A general survey leads to the impression that their most prominent features illustrate two points. They present to us vast areas in which we can study, perhaps better than anywhere else on the globe, the effects of aqueous and solfataric metamorphosis of rocks; and they offer in equal extent the

*The substance of this account was contained in a paper presented to the National Academy of Sciences, and subsequently, in its present form, in a lecture before the American Geographical and Statistical Society of New York, in the spring of 1870.

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proofs and illustrations of direct eruptive agencies. The State of Nevada is a type of the former class, and the immense basaltic overflows of California, Oregon, Washington, and Idaho represent the latter.

The route traveled by me in 1869, from Sacramento overland to Portland, Oregon, thence up the Columbia to the Dalles, thence (after a brief excursion northward into Washington Territory) southwest, across the valley of the Des Chutes, up the valley of the John Day, through the mountains to Powder and Burnt Rivers, and the Snake River, up the valley of the Snake, thence to Boise City, and, finally, from Boise southward to Salt Lake, afforded views of many of the striking characteristics of this basaltic formation; and it will be my attempt to notice some of these in arbitrary order, rather than to present a complete and logically connected account of so large a subject.

All the streams I have named are part of the system of the Columbia. A word or two concerning the relation of this system, or rather of the Snake River half of it, to the structure of our inland basin. As Professor Newberry, in a recent lecture before a sister society, has interestingly shown, the physical history of the country west of the Rocky Mountains may be divided into several stages. At first the waves of ocean washed the feet of the Rocky Mountains. Then, by the uprising of mountain ranges between, the salt tides of the interior were shut off from the parent sea, to which they could return only by way of the great rivers which ran northward and southward around the ends of the new barrier. Continual rain-fall and drainage soon freshened these inland waters, and the continent, at this period, presented the spectacle of the largest expanse of fresh-water lakes ever existing, so far as we can discover, in the history of the globe. This state of things obtained on both sides of the Rocky Mountains, though I will not here discuss the question whether the fresh-water deposits on both sides are absolutely contemporaneous. Certainly those of the east were not inferior in extent, and the great lakes which still remain, drained by the St. Lawrence, though quite insignificant compared with the system of which they are a relic, may serve to give a hint of its grand proportions.

The fresh-water sea west of the mountains was subjected to yet other changes, which did not take place in the cast. A further rise of the mountain barriers cut off in wany places the river drainage, leaving isolated lakes with insufficient outlets or none at aii; and these, by virtue of the constant influx of waters, impregnated with saline matter, and the constant concentration caused by evaportion, soon became salt. Thus, what were the briny deeps, after masquerading for a while as fresh waters, reasserted their hereditary character, and appeared as briny shallows. Meanwhile the rivers themselves put an end to the greater part of the lakes by carving deeper and deeper channels or by breaking suddenly through rocky dams, and thus draining to the bottom the inland reservoirs. This process was carried out by the Missouri and Arkansas in the east, the Rio Grande in the south, the Colorado in the southwest, and the Columbia and its tributaries in the northwest. The valleys of all these rivers indicate clearly the progress of erosion, gradually deepening the channel. It is most strikingly illus trated in the cañons of the Colorado and the Snake, while the passage of the Cascades, through which the Columbia rushes, "short-lived and jubilant," to the sea, is probably an instance of the overcoming of a barrier, letting out, in an instantaneous flood, the mass of waters behind.


The present appearance of the inland basin is that of an elevated table-land, corrugated with mountain ranges, and divided into meridional valleys, each with its own isolated water-system. The disappearance of the vast bodies of water that once covered its surface has greatly altered the climate, diminishing the rain-fall, and transforming the greater part of the region into a desert. What rain it now receives must come from the Pacific, and the supplies from this quarter are intercepted, first by the Coast Ranges and then by the Sierra, so that the "leavings," distributed over the vast table-land, are quite insignificant; over the whole surface ranges, in perpetual winds, a dry and thirsty air licking up with amazing rapidity all exposed moisture. streams that rise in the mountain ranges, and flow downward into the valleys, soon disappear-partly absorbed in the sandy soil and partly (indeed, chiefly) taken up by the atmosphere. Even large rivers, like the Humboldt, spread out into shallow lakes, erroneously called "sinks," and, exposing thus a large area to evaporation, dry up. Reese River flows northward for a hundred and fifty to two hundred miles, through a narrow valley, where it is frequently replenished by smaller tributaries; and, after this long journey, having almost reached the Humboldt, it pauses and is lost, dying, like a weary pilgrim, in sight of the shrine. In the immediate neighborhood the Carson River also has its sink.

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The amount of water in these isolated streams and basins depends upon the fluctuating balance between rain-fall (or snow-thaw) and evaporation. This is curiously shown in the little system of the Truckee. This stream-a turbulent river-is the outlet of Lake Bigler, a beautiful mountain lake, situated among the summits of the Sierra, and fed by their melting snows. The Truckee flows north for a dozen miles along the range, then pitches downward and eastward, through the pass traversed now by the Central Pacific Railroad, into the Nevada basin. Here it turns again at right angles

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