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field of a Titanic contest, and the final
scene before accomplished victory in
the long struggle between active per-
sistency and passive endurance. An
exhibition of stubbornness and un-
yielding, but futile opposition to the
inevitable — opposition to slow destruc-
tion. Corroding time, erosive elements,
and transporting waters on one side ;
granite, lime and sandstone rocks on
the other — antagonists pitted against
each other in the vast arena of the
American Desert. Solidity resisting
the assaults of light air and instable
water; a mighty individuality harassed
to death by an infinite succession of
fresh foemen individually weak and
insignificant. Nature fighting against
herself, her right hand assailing her
left hand ; a destructive contest re-
sulting in reconstruction, and display-
ing, during its long continuance, the
workings of her economic law r s. Such
is the disorderly confusion of thoughts
and impressions that assails the mind
as one gazes on the Grand Canon of
the Colorado from Point Sublime, and
the truth seizes upon the soul that it
is a portion of the framework of a
continent exposed to view by Time's
disrobing hand.

What length of time, how many
millions of centuries it required for
the operation of these laws to cut that
great chasm through the bed-rocks of
the plains, no man knoweth. Long
before the river sawed by corrasion
its deep channel, a vast lake had to be
drained, and its bed of sedimentary
deposits carried away by the slow pro-
cess of erosion. The drainage of this
lake was caused by the gradual up-
heaval of the region which it occupied
leaving a river in the deepest part of
its basin. This ancient lacustrine
region is now called the Grand Canon
district, a land of cliffs and canons
fashioned by the operations of nature
during an incalculable period of geo-
logical time. It lies principally in the
northwestern portion of Arizona, hav-
Vol. IV -2

ing a northerly extension into Utah.
In its northwesterly and southeasterly
direction its length is about 180 miles,
while its width from northeast to
southwest is about 125 miles. The
area included may be roughly esti-
mated at from 13,000 to 16,000 square
miles, according to Clarence E. Dutton,
Captain of Ordnance, U. S. A., who
surveyed the Grand Caiion district
during 1880 and preceding years.
Across the middle of this district the
Colorado by the irresistible process of
corrasion has cut its highway with so
tortuous a course, that the Grand
Canon is more than 200 miles long,
and with such immensity of time that
it has eaten into the bowels of the
earth from 5,000 to 6,000 feet. The
meteoric forces that break up rocks,
rain, wind and frost have aided the
river in producing the most magnificent
and terrific water course in the world,
and as soon as lateral exposure of
rock occurred, erosion continued the
work until the mighty canon now
varies in width from five to twelve
miles. It is no narrow gorge, no
deep, gloomy gash with perpendicular
cliffs from brink to base ; no dreadful
abyss wrought by some terrific earth-
throe ; no gaping wound in the planets'
crust inflicted by a convulsive spasm.
No sudden and violent effort formed
this wonderful water-channel, this
great highway of a resistless river.
It is the work of Nature's laws of
progression and improvement, a work
carried on during an incomprehensible
lapse of time. It is a work of vast
proportions, of divine magnificence
and inconceivable variety of orna-
mental design and coloring. Doomed
to destruction, silent cities grand with
cathedrals and castles, domes, pin-
nacles and towers ; colossal buttes and
cliffs slowly yielding to decay ; amphi-
theater recesses and niches present
themselves in unimaginable profusion.
And beneath this grand array of archi-
tectural structures, on the floor of this
stupendous picture gallery of nature,
the waters of the Colorado, down
cataracts and rapids, with turmoil and



uproar, impetuously rush ever onward,
grinding, tearing and biting the hard
rocks, and cutting with their sand-
charged volume, whirled onward with
fierce energy, deeper and deeper into
their rocky bed.

In its passage through the canon
the Colorado varies from 250 to 450
feet in width, yet its volume of water
is enormous. Its tributaries bring
into it nearly all the western drainage
of the Rocky Mountains running from
north to south of Colorado, and most
of the drainage of southwestern
Wyoming. The Green, Grand, and
San Juan rivers, with their countless
affluents, pour their waters into the
Colorado above the Grand Cafion and
combine to form a fluid mass whose
volume is immense, and whose velocity
and impetus have been and are irre-
sistible. Mr. Henry Gannette, geog-
rapher of the census, estimates the
area of the drainage system of the
Colorado above the Grand Wash at
165,000 square miles. The pace and
depth of the river in its race through
the canon constitute its might. Flu-
vial velocity depends upon declivity
of the river bed, and the fall of the
Colorado in the Grand Canon between
the junction of the Little Colorado
and the Grand Wash, a distance of
218 miles, is 1,640 feet, giving an
average of 7.52 feet per mile. Although
the rate of descent varies greatly in
different parts of the canon, this
declivity gives a fearful velocity to
the water when the rains. of winter
fill each rill and stream of the Rocky
Mountains, and their united contribu-
tions rush headlong into the Grand
Cailon, causing rises in the Colorado
varying from thirty to sixty feet. Then
it is that the river displays its ccrra-
sive power. Great boulders, many
tons in weight, and fallen frag-
ments of all sizes from the im-
pending cliffs are tossed about
and whirled along, battering the
side walls and each other, grind-
ing up themselves and undermin-
ing the cliffs, pounding out niches
and holes, deep recesses and cav-

erns. But its corrasive might is not
wholly due to the high velocity given
to its waters by its great declivity; there
is another most important element of
destruction, and that is the presence
of large quantities of hard sand and
fine material which are brought down
to the Colorado by its numerous af-
fluents. The scouring, rasping and
filing action of this fine sand con-
stitutes a very effective process, and
the river is annually cutting deeper
and deeper into the subjacent strata.

Thus an inner gorge is carved out,
meandering along the wide flooring of
the upper chasm — a flooring cut up
into innumerable water-chiseled rifts,
rents and cracks. The depth of this
inner gorge varies from 1,000 feet to
over 2,100 feet. Captain Dutton thus
describes his impressions and percep-
tions, while standing on the brink of
this chasm, at the foot of the Toro-
weap Valley: "The river is clearly
defined below, but it looks about large
enough to turn a village grist-mill;
yet we know it is a stream three or
four hundred feet
de. Its surface
looks as motionless
as a lake seen from
a distant mountain
top. W T e know it is
a rushing torrent.





The ear is strained to hear the roar
of its waters, and catches it faintly at
intervals as the eddying breezes waft
it upward ; but the sound seems ex-
hausted by the distance. We perceive
d.mly a mottling of light and shadow
upon the surface of the stream, and
the flecks move with a barely per-
ceptible cloud-like motion. They are
the fields of white foam lashed up at
the foot of some cataract and sailing
swiftly onward. * * * It seems
as if a strong, nervous arm could hurl
a stone against the opposing wall-face;
but in a moment we catch sight of
vegetation growing upon the very
brink. There are trees in scattered
groves which we might at first have
mistaken for sage or desert furze."
On another occasion, writing of his
view of this chasm from Point Sub-
lime, he remarks: " Its upper 200
feet is a vertical ledge of sandstone of
a dark rich brownish color. Beneath
it lies the granite of a dark iron-gray
shade, verging toward black, and
lending a gloomy aspect to the lowest
depths. Perhaps half a mile of the
river is disclosed. A pale, dirty red,
without glimmer or sheen, a motion-
less surface, a small featureless spot,
inclosed in the dark shade of granite,
is all of it that is here visible. Yet
we know it is a large river, 150 yards

wide, with a headlong torrent foaming
and plunging over rocky rapids. ' '

And this fearful chasm, that strikes
the beholder with a feeling of terror,
aye, of horror, is the production of
corrasion and erosion. Vast is the
effect of erosion ; prodigious is the
amount of work it accomplishes, and
immense the periods of time during
which its ceaseless industry is carried
on. It is estimated by geologists that
from the Grand Canon district, with
its area of about 16,000 square miles,
10,000 feet of strata have been swept
away by the process of erosion. For
aeons after aeons the cliffs, terraced by
disintegration, receded farther and
farther from the shore-line of the
ancient sea, till they now exhibit a
series of terraces at the high plateaus
in southern Utah, where, like Titan's
stairways, they lead down to the lower
platform through which the Colorado
has rasped out its latest water chasm.
The uppermost formation of this entire
platform is the Carboniferous ; but
where are the Permian, Mesozoic and
Tertiary formations which ought to
be lying above the Carboniferous one,
and which are found in their proper
places in the great terraces alluded to ?
They have been swept away by the
slow process of erosion, to form new
land. Destruction and reconstruction



far away from the source of supplies of
material have been the principles at
work in the denudation of the Grand
Canon district. The whole region
has been repeatedly upheaved and
submerged. During the period of the
last elevation the great inland lake
was drained, and the river scooped out
its first wide channel and became the
great receiver of the drainage system
of an immense region. Then began
the removal of the lacustrine bed.
The slow, deliberate upheaval con-
tinued ; lateral tributaries poured
their avalanches of water into the
main river through gorges which they
plowed out for themselves ; and for
untold millennium the proceeds of
erosion were carried into the Colorado
and borne away, until the old lake-
bed was denuded down to the Car-
boniferous formation, and in the center
of its wide highway the river was
gradually cutting a deeper and nar-
rower path to which its waters were

confined at their low stages. It was
slow work, and for thousands of years
the river alternately swept over its
ancient bed and retired to its new
channel, as the rainy and dry seasons
followed each other ; but the time
came when the new gorge had been
carved out so deep that its brinks
were rarely overflown, and at last,
never. The process of corrasion, how-
ever, did not cease, and lower and lower
the river has sunk until its surface is
many hundreds of feet below the
broad pathway of its by-gone youth.

High above the narrow bed to
which it has retired in its old age, on
right and left of it, stand legions of
mute witnesses to the part it played in
archaic days in the transformation of
a region. It has not only been the
vehicle of transportation, but the
motive power of those keen tools
of Nature — sand and disintegrated
rock — a power of simultaneous du-



Beside the sewing-table chained and bent,
They stitch for the lady, tyrannous and proud —
For her a wedding- gown, for them a shroud ;

They stitch and stitch, but never mend the ren

Torn in life's golden curtains. Glad Youth went,
And left them alone with Time ; and now if bowed
With burdens they should sob and cry aloud,

Wondering, the rich would look from their content.

And so this glimmering life at last recedes
In unknown, endless depths beyond recall ;

And what ' s the worth of all our ancient creeds,
If here, at the end of ages, this is all —
A white face floating in the whirling ball,

A dead face plashing in the river reeds ?




|NE hundred and eight
years ago, when the
American flag first
appeared in Chinese
waters, China was her-
metically sealed to the
outside world. Hedged
in by impenetrable walls of exclusion,
prejudice and pride, she looked out
with arrogant disdain upon the bar-
barians around her, and desired noth-
ing better than to be let alone. Two
hundred years had then passed since
Xavier, the devoted Jesuit missionary,
standing upon the Macao promontory
facing that inhospitable coast from
which he had just been repelled, ut-
tered the pathetic words : " O rock !
rock ! when wilt thou open to my
Master!" Fifty years ago her .«;ates
were still closed. The rock was still
unopened. The middle wall of par-
tition still severed her from the
nations of the west.

It is well for us to remember that
there was a time when America pos-
sessed no charms for John Chinaman.
He was content with his own land. It
was to him the Middle Kingdom, the
center of the universe, and no prom-
ised land of the Golden West, in those
days, could have allured him. It is
also well for us to understand that
had we minded our own business,
stayed at home and let him alone,
John Chinaman would have done the
same by us. It was cupidity and a
woman's curiosity that prompted Pan-
dora to look inside the box in Epime-
theus' house. Through the lifted lid
blessings and plagues escaped, which
she was never able to gather up and
replace. There was a time when
China was a sealed casket. The
Anglo-Saxon came along, whose busi-
ness has always been to poke his nose
into other people's affairs. Contrary

to China's expressed wish, we drove
her people out of their shell. Find-
ing things turning out different to
our expectations, we are now eager
to have them boxed up again. But it
is too late. China has been opened,
and opened by the white man. Her
people have gone abroad upon the
earth through the fences that Ameri-
cans helped to break down, and "all
the king's horses and all the king's
men cannot get Humpty Dumpty
back again."

In 1840, British cannon forced those
barred gates that for ages had isolated
China from the world. Five ports
were opened to foreign trade, and
Hong Kong ceded forever to the
British crown. The American Gov-
ernment protested against England's
high-handed policy, but our people
were not slow to occupy the ports
opened and to reap the advantages
gained at the expense of our cousin .;
blood and treasure.

Mr. Caleb Cushing was appointed
envoy extraordinary and minister
plenipotentiary to China, and arrived
at Macao in February, 1844, with a
letter from President Tyler to the
Emperor of China. Mr. Cushing
succeeded in negotiating a treaty
known as the Treaty of Wang Hiya
which, besides securing the right of
American residence at the five treaty
ports, established two very important
concessions. The first was what is
known as extra territorial rights, or
the right of United States citizens to
be tried in their own consular courts;
and the second what is known as the
favored nation clause, or the right of
American residents in China to the
same privileges and immunities as are
granted to any other nation. These
concessions may be termed our Magna
Charta in Far Cathay, and have been




of no small advantage to us and to all
other foreigners in China.

In 1857, the British and French
allied forces made further demands
upon China, in which America was
invited, but refused to join. A second
war was begun. President Buchanan
appointed Mr. W. B. Reed, United
States envoy to watch the course of
events. He was particularly in-
structed to assure the Chinese Gov-
ernment that America's attitude was
that of a peacemaker, rather than a
party to the hostilities he so much
condemned. After making virtuous
protests against the aggressiveness of
England and France, it was a great
mistake of Mr. Reed to follow in
the wake cf the allied fleets up the
Peiho, as if resolved to reap all the
advantages to be gained by the armed
force he deprecated so much. It is
certain we got all the .benefits of John
Bull's conquests without spending a
dollar, or a drop of blood. Mr. Reed
obtained the second treaty which gave
the United States the privilege of
sending a minister once a year to
Peking, and allowed Americans the
right of residence and trade in six
more open ports. The first article of
this new treaty said: ''There shall
be, as there has always been, peace
between the United States of America
and the Ta Tsing Empire and between
their people respectively. They shall
not insult or oppress each other for
any trifling cause, so as to produce an
estrangement between them," etc.
It is remarkable to note what gush-
ing obsequiousness marked our rela-
tions with China during that happy
period when the voice of the China-
man's sewing machine had not been
heard in the land, when Chinamen
had not learned to make " white labor
cigars," and when Californians dream-
ed of a monopoly of the China trade,
with San Francisco the great tea
mart of the world. How delighted
everybody w r as to see John come out
of his shell and make our acquaint-
ance! How everybody cheered the
Chinese contingent marching in the

procession that celebrated California's
admission to the Union! How the
miners chuckled over the laundrymen
that gave them clean shirts, or the
workmen that made them underwear,
and cobbled their shoes! Woe to the
hoodlum that had the temerity to fire
rocks at the Chinese who marched in
procession on the Fourth of July, 1851,
and joined in the hurrah for the stars
and stripes. Nobody then doubted
that John Chinaman was a man and a
brother. These were the little brown
man's halcyon days never more to re-

Never did this nation stand in such
high esteem with China as when Mr.
A. Burlingame was United States
minister to China in 1863. No other
foreign minister ever won such popu-
larity at the Chinese capital as this
distinguished diplomat. The posthu-
mous honors conferred upon him by
the Ta Tsing Government mean a great
deal more than a monument in West-
minster Abbey to Mr. Lowell. When
Mr. Burlingame returned to China,
there was a cry in California for more,
laborers. The Pacific Railway had to
be constructed, there were marshes to
be drained, forests to be cleared, tule
lands to be reclaimed, and Mr. Bur-
lingame went to assure China that a
million Chinese laborers could find a
welcome and employment on the Pa-
cific Coast. China of course accepted
in good faith these assurances. There
was no difficulty in negotiating a
treaty between two countries in such
sweet accord. This third treaty,
which was ratified by the United
States Senate in 1868, contained, inter
alia, one remarkable clause:

"The United States of America
" and the Emperor of China cordially
" recognize the inherent and inalien-
" able right of man to change his
"home and allegiance, and also the
" mutual advantage of the free mi-
" gration and emigration of their
" citizens and subjects, respectively,
11 from the one country to the other for
11 purposes of curiosity, of trade, or
" as permanent residents."



Reading this treaty in the light of
burning Chinatowns, and bonfires cele-
brating the passing of Chinese ex-
clusion bills, one can hardly believe
that only twenty-four years have
elapsed since the United States Gov-
ernment set its seal to this covenant.

Down to 1868, all our diplomatic
relations with the Ta Tsing Govern-
ment had been serene and happy; but
a change was now at hand, and far
away on the Pacific Coast could be
heard the low moanings of the com-
ing storm. Patriots who had been
in the United States less than six
months complained that their country
was being ruined by Asiatic aliens.
Working men who kept their blue
Mondays gloriously drunk, objected
to the presence of men who were
frugal and industrious, and worst of
all, never patronized the saloon.
Men who used to spend their Sundays
playing poker in some saloon bark
parlor took high moral grounds for
their antagonism to the Chinese be-
cause they were heathen. Then
began the cry, "The Chinese must


I "

Politicians howled it and

tramps echoed it. Street ears, walls
and fences bore the words :


Processions marched through the
streets bearing banners and transpar-
encies with the same device. For-
eigners standing at the doors of the
saloons pouring forth oaths and
tobacco juice in equal proportions,
or wiping the beer from their mouths,
maintained that the Chinaman must
go because he was dirty, smoked
opium and did not support the
brewing business. As the elections
approached, conscienceless dema-
gogues sought to gain political kudos
by inflammatory .speeches, instigat-
ing riot, arson, and even murder.
Outrages perpetrated upon
were of almost daily occurrence.
The Congressional investigation re-
port of 1877 states that hoodlums
used to make it their business to
stone the newly arrived Chinamen

as they sat helplessly huddled to-
gether in the express wagons that
conveyed them from the steamer, and
it was no unusual sight to see them
lifted out of the wagon senseless and
covered with blood. These are the
striking arguments used upon pocr
John ever since that time to the pres-
ent, and it is unnecessary to say that
they have not convinced him of the
loving-kindness of the white man, or
of the superiority of our religion and

The outcry against the Chinese was
so long and loud that at last it reached
the halls of Congress, and the Govern-
ment determined to take the initial
step in the course of restriction and
exclusion of Chinese immigration.
A special embassy, composed of John
1'. Swift, \V. H. Trescott and James
B. Angell was sent to Peking by
President Hayes to secure a modi-
fication of that treaty which only ten
years before had been pressed upon
China with such eager solicitation.
The last treaty had guaranteed equal
rights to the people of both lands.
It was now the business of the com-
missioners to abrogate as much as
they could of that side of the treaty
that gave any rights to the Chinese,
and at the same time to hold on to
every privilege and immunity enjoyed
by Americans in China. The im-
perial government, anxious to oblige
this country, received the commis-
sioners with every mark of respect,
and with magnanimity granted them
every concession they desired. The
result of their negotiations was our
fourth and last treaty with China.
The first article of that treaty says-

" Whenever, in the opinion of the
14 United States, the coming of Chinese
" laborers to the United States or
11 their residence therein, affects or
" threatens to affect the interests of
" that country, or to endanger the
" good order of that country, or of
" any locality within the territory
" thereof, the Government of China
11 agrees that the Government of the
" United States may regulate, limit,



" or suspend such coming or residence,
" but 7nay not absolutely prohibit it."
The second article stipulated that
" those Chinese laborers who are now
" in the United States shall be allowed
"to go and come of their own free
" will and accord, and shall be ac-
11 corded all the rights, privileges,
" immunities and exemptions which
11 are accorded the citizens and sub-
" jects of the most favored nation."

It will be clearly observed that in
this last treaty three things were guar-
anteed: 1 st, That while the immigra-
tion of new coining Chinese laborers
might be restricted, the United States
confessed it had no right to absolutely
exclude them. 2d, That the Chinese
already residing in the United States
should be allowed to come and go at
pleasure. 3d, That they shall enjoy
the same rights guaranteed to the sub-
jects or citizens of any other land. It
is hoped that the honorable commis-
sioners had no knowledge of the kind
of legislation contemplated when they
penned the following words referring
to the action of the imperial commis-
sion: " They have been actuated by

Online LibraryCharles Frederick HolderThe Californian (Volume 4) → online text (page 4 of 120)