Stonesteps sunset

Saturday, September 28, 2013

The continuing story of General E.D. Townsend

October 28, 1852

Today we have had the first rain of the season. It has laid the dust and in some places made terrible mudholes. Probably no American city is as dirty as San Francisco. Old clothes, boots, and rubbish of every kind are thrown into the plank pavement and the municipal regulations do not contemplate any police of streets.

In the lower parts of the city near the wharves, the tide water comes in, but there is not sufficient influx to carry off the filth. No wonder that from this cause and the stirring up of miasina by filling in water lots, there should be much typhoid fever in town. Physicians say that San Frs. is an exceedingly unhealthful place, and that but for the presence of strong winds in the summer, it would be more so.

I strolled out to the cemetry(sic) a few days ago. It is a little valley between some low sand hills. People of all nations occupy this city of the dead, and considering that the oldest date on any store was 1850, the number of graves is startling. To be sure 3000 victims of the cholera were buried there two years ago, and that fatal scourge was very fatal while it raged here. Another feature in this cemetry is the comparative number of persons under 40 years of age. Where young persons compose so large a proportion of the population,they must make up a large part of the bills of mortality.

Since California became a state the government of the State and of this city have been in the hands of a set of swindlers and knaves whose sole object seems to have been to enrich themselves, even by ruining the State. The degree of corruption is appalling, and it extends to agents of private companies as well as to U.S. Civil officers. Bribery is regarded as a part of lawful business... 

There is no end of this corruption and men who once stood well in high places have yielded to the tempter and amassed large fortunes in this way. The office holders are making a desperate attempt to retain their places. They have a branch of the Democratic party supported by gamblers and what are called "shoulder strikers"- another name for bullies. When the primary elections went against them, they sent a part of these ruffians to the polls to break up the ballot boxes and scatter the votes. Respectable people are not disposed looger to submit to this misrule, and Whigs and Democrats are uniting on a ticket which includes only worthy and proper men...

Jose Forni, the murderer, was hung Friday Dec. 10. He continued to deny that he had acted except in self defense. This was the first public execution under the law in this state. The Vigilance Committee hung many men but not for murder.

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