Samuel M. (Samuel Melancthon) Worcester.

California. Outlines of an address before the Naumkeag mutual trading and mining company, at the Tabernacle church in Salem, on Sabbath evening Jan. 14, 1849 online

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Online LibrarySamuel M. (Samuel Melancthon) WorcesterCalifornia. Outlines of an address before the Naumkeag mutual trading and mining company, at the Tabernacle church in Salem, on Sabbath evening Jan. 14, 1849 → online text (page 1 of 2)
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At the Tabernacle Church in Salem, on Sabbath evening, Jan. 14, 1849.


" Where there is gold ; and the gold of that land is good."

It is somewhat remarkable, that the first mention of gold in
the Scriptures is in connection with the garden of Eden, be-
fore the fall of man. The last mention of it is found in the
description of the glorious city of God, the New Jerusalem,
which appeared to the disciple in Patmos, as " pure gold, like
unto clear glass."

Of the first partition of the river, that went out of Eden, and
is called Pison, it is said : " That is it which compasseth the
whole land of Havilah, where there is gold ; and the gold of
that land is good." There have been different opinions, both
in respect to Havilah and the Pison. Some have identified the
Pison with the Indus, some with the Ganges, some with the
Nile, and some with the ancient Phasis. And Havilah, a son
of Joktan, (Gen. x. 29,) is believed to have peopled Colchis,
on the eastern shores of the Euxine or Black Sea, and the
countries encompassed by the Pison or Phasis, now known as
the Aras or Araxes.

Whether the Havilah of the Scriptures, that was so re-
nowned for its gold, in the age of Moses, was ever as Califor-
nia now is, or the Pison was as the Sacramento, it would be
impossible to ascertain. But there is a golden chain of asso-
ciation, if I may so speak, by which it is easy to connect that
gold region of remote antiquity, with one of the most memora-

ble of all enterprises or achievements. I refer to the Argo-
nautic Expedition, in the thirteenth century before Christ.

In mythological story, Jason is described as the leader of a
band of heroic adventurers, among whom were Hercules and
Orpheus, who embarked in the ship Argo, from a port of
Greece, to sail for Colchis. Their object, as poetically stated,
was to obtain possession of " the golden fleece" of the ram
upon which Phryxus, the son of Athamas, king of Thebes, had
escaped thither, when flying with his sister Helle, from the
vindictive machinations of Ino. The wonderful animal, not
only had an invaluable fleece of gold, but had wings and the
faculties of speech!

The expedition of the Argonauts is celebrated in tradition,
poetry, and history. It forms a sort of landmark, or boundary
point, between the fabulous and the authentic, in the literature
of the classic languages. But, with all that has been said of
it, the original facts of the mythological story cannot be deter-
mined. One writer has conjectured, that the golden fleece
was the raw silk of the East. Another has thought, that the
phrase was derived from the manner of collecting golden sands
washed down from the mountains — by putting undressed
sheep-skins in the channel of the stream. Another considers
the whole story as a tradition of the flood. But, according to
one of the best modern authorities, the Argonautic Expedition
is to be regarded as " both a military and a mercantile adven-
ture ; and was singularly bold for the times in which it was
undertaken. The object was, to open the commerce of the
Euxine Sea, and to secure some establishments on its coasts."

Gold was obtained from some sources, in great abundance,
in the reign of Solomon ; that is to say, about four and a half
centuries after Moses had recorded the fame of Havilah, and
two and a half centuries after Jason and the other Grecian
heroes accomplished their perilous voyage to Colchis. From
Ezion-geber, on the Red Sea, the ships of that magnificent
monarch sailed to Ophir. "They came to Ophir, and fetched
from thence gold, four hundred and twenty talents, and brought
it to k i n n' Solomon." " Once in three years came the navy of
Tarshish, bringing gold, and silver, and ivory," &c. Gold
became bo plenty in Jerusalem, that " silver was as stones:"
" It was DOthing accounted of in the days of Solomon."

Where Ophir was, is still a question of geography and of
history. But whether in the Chinese Sea — on the coast of
Malabar — in the island of Ceylon — or in Southern Arabia —
or on the easl coast of Africa, opposite Madagascar — or some-
where el e in the Indian Ocean — there is no dispute that gold
a. id precious stones were the great commercial attraction.
Tic L r "l<! of commerce had tar more to do with the ancient

maritime enterprises in the Mediterranean Sea, and in the In-
dian Ocean, than either the desire of discovery, or the hope of

Between the age of Solomon and the Christian era, the Phe-
nicians and their colonial children at Carthage, would seem to
have been the most enterprising and successful in the com-
merce of the Mediterranean. To some extent, doubtless, they
adventured into the Atlantic Ocean. They traded in all man-
ner of riches, and were unrivalled for their skill in navigation.

At a very early period, the more advanced nations, like the
people of Egypt, began to seek gold by other means than find-
ing it in the mines of mountains, or in alluvial plains, or in the
beds of rivers, or in the exchanges of commerce. It has been
supposed, that, in melting the ore, other substances were dis-
covered in combination; and hence was suggested the idea
that other substances might be changed, the viler into the
most precious, However this was, an art arose, called alchemy.
And in process of time, the grand desideratum was the Phi-
losopher's Stone, or a substance containing the original princi-
ple of all matter, and capable of dissolving all into its elements.
This general solvent, it was also supposed, would possess the
power of removing all seeds of disease from the human body,
and of renewing life for immortality.

From Egypt, the mysteries and occult toils of the alche-
mysts passed into Greece ; and from Greece, they were subse-
quently transferred to Rome. The prodigality of the Romans
excited and inflamed their desire for gold. In the first century
of the Christian era, many experiments were made, in the hope
of transmuting the baser metals into that which was most of
all so passionately desired. Caligula tried to obtain gold from
orpiment, or yellow sulphuret of arsenic. Dioclesian, how-
ever, one of his successors, more than two hundred years after-
wards, ordered all books to be burned which professed to teach
the manufacture of gold and silver by alchemy. The useful
science of chemistry was much promoted, and various impor-
tant discoveries were made ; although no man ever succeeded
in making one particle of gold.

The Arabians studied alchemy with great zeal, not long
after the time of Mohammed. And until late in the " Dark
Ages" of Europe, the monks were doing their utmost to find
the grand secret of all earthly good, not in the wisdom that is
from above, but in the Philosopher's Stone, which, as it was
believed, had been all but found, very many times !

With the discovery of America, a new direction was given
to the desire and search for gold. Columbus carried back
" presents of gold " to Ferdinand and Isabella. It was soon
ascertained that South America and Mexico, or New Spain,

had large stores of the precious metals. These were thought
to be inexhaustible. It was not long before adventurers were
rushing, with the most extravagant expectations, to regale
their eyes with the glittering spectacle of El Dorado, where
gold and precious stones were as common as rocks or sands in
other countries. Of this Dorado, Francis Orellana, a compan-
ion of Pizarro, first spread the report in Europe. It was sup-
posed to be in the interior of South America, between the
rivers Orinoco and Amazon. And an Englishman is said to
have given a map of it, at the end of the sixteenth century.

But no Dorado was ever found as the stories of the natives
had described it — as the fervid imagination of Spanish cupidity
had painted it. El Dorado became a proverb of European
hallucination and disappointment. It was like " the German
Schlaroffenland, where roasted pigeons fly into one's mouth."

Singular enough, three centuries having passed away, a
Dorado in North America has been found to be no tale of the
fabulous. And, it is not without reason, that some are inclined
to think that California was the real Dorado of the 16th cen-

We have fallen upon an age of wonders. But among all
the marvels, which in our day make truth so much stranger
than fiction, I did not expect to see an age of literal gold.
And, perhaps I may be allowed to say, that, strangest of all
in my personal experience of events and occurrences, is the
position in which I find myself this evening. That I should
stand here in this pulpit, to address a company, like that here
convened, is one of the last of all positions in which I ever
expected to be placed.

I have never been very forward to speak in praise of wealth;
for I have esteemed wisdom better than gold. And I have
never thought it prudent for any man to be " in haste to be
rich;" for there is the greatest danger, that "he will not be
innocent" in so doing. Besides, I have always understood the
lessons of history, as teaching us, that, for the world at large, if
not for every one, there is " a more excellent way" of increas-
ing pecuniary resources, than by searching for any of the
precious metals in their native depositories. My principles,
my sentiments are the same as ever.

But I have felt very differently, in relation to the enterprise
which has now brought this large assembly together, from
what I should have anticipated, according to all my previous
opinions and impressions. And yet, 1 find not the slightest
difficulty in explaining my present feelings. I have thought
that 1 could see the clearest evidence of God's hand in the
movement which now concentrates upon itself such a vast
amount of various interest.

I have never had any sympathy with the political measures
by which California has been annexed to the mighty domain of
this great republic. But I have an inward and cheering per-
suasion, that He who is " wonderful in counsel, and excellent
in working," has some great results to accomplish in permit-
ting an annexation so unexpected and extraordinary. And
from the first hour that it became a moral certainty that San
Francisco would become a city of the American Union, I have
been deeply solicitous, that, as soon as possible, it should be
truly an Anglo-Saxon, if not a genuine New England city, in
the whole spirit of its merchants, mechanics, and manufac-
turers. It will soon be the largest city from Behring's Straits
to Cape Horn.

I have devoutly desired, that all California, and all New
Mexico, with all Texas, should have an ascendency of popula-
tion among whom the best principles of our free States, and of
the most enlightened sections of our "goodly heritage," should
be established for all time to come.

And what — I have asked myself — will be sufficient induce-
ment to attract thither, at an early day, the requisite number of
emigrants or colonists ? I never imagined, in all my imagin-
ings and conjectures, what the memorable year of 1848 has
already recorded in its annals, in the most eventful of all its
eventful chapters, in the wonder-working providence of God !

I believe God is in history. I believe the history of the
world will yet prove to be vapid and worthless, save only as it
is recognized in its connections with the history of the Church.
And thus I believe that Jesus Christ is peculiarly and pre-
eminently in history. As a minister of the Gospel, therefore,
I am interested, profoundly interested, in every movement
which affects this country, in the extension of its boundaries,
the diffusion of its population, the augmentation of its
strength, and the multiplication of its means and instrumental-
ities, for the advancement of civilization, of freedom, of pure
religion and true happiness. I feel the love of my country in
every pulsation of my heart.

It is in history, that this continent was not discovered by
modern Europeans until just about the time when the crisis of
the Great Reformation was about to be revealed. It is in his-
tory, that, by a most remarkable course of events, the territory
of New England was reserved for the Puritan pilgrims and
fathers. It is in history, that Catholic France on the North,
and Catholic Spain on the South, were extending their arms to
clasp hands at some point of amity in the line of the great
Lakes, between the Gulf of St. Lawrence and the Gult of
Mexico. And it is in history, as I read it, that nothing but a
seeming miracle, or a series of miracles, like those which


delivered Israel out of the hand of Pharaoh, gave victory at
Louisbourg, in 1745, and saved New England and all the colo-
nies from the desperate designs of that detestable power
which enacted the scenes of St. Bartholomew's. If the colo-
nies here had fallen before the armada of France, the history
of the world's evangelization and emancipation might have
waited a thousand years for what our ears have heard and our
eyes have seen.

I must not extend these allusions, or add to these historical
associations or reminiscences. But, I love to think of them
when I look out upon the present spectacle of our country and
of the world. And albeit "g-am" is not u godliness ," they give
me hope, brighter and richer than all its gold, for California,
and for the continents and islands of the north and south
Pacific. For, of all the signal and stupendous demonstrations
of God's providence in these last days, I know of nothing
more wonderful — no fact more worthy of profound reflection —
than the reservation of the astounding discovery of the treas-
ures of California until its recent annexation to the United
States. Why did the Spaniards, so ferocious and blood-thirsty
in their search and rage for gold, never find any part of the
amazing secret of those treasures ? The Jesuits, too, have
been there for three centuries. Why those many, many
thousands of square miles of mineral wealth, untouched until
the year 1848?

It must certainly be that God has a purpose — a great moral
purpose in all this. It is no small thing for a people to be
moved as the American people, so many of them, now are ;
that the representatives of every city, and village, and almost
every log-cabin beyond the Alleghanies, will soon be on the
shores of the Pacific ; that a nation should, as it were, be
removed thither, under the protection and thrilling- enthusiasm
of the brightest, and ere long the mightiest banner among the
nations of Christendom.

Tens of thousands will go thither, allured by glittering
visions, a very small part of which may ever be realized. Not
a few may find a grave for their bodies, if not the death of
their morals and the destruction of their souls ; but God will
be there — the God of New England's founders. God's Holy
Word will be there, with no chains to bind it. God's ministers
will be there. They will preach boldly in the name of Jesus.
And none can prevent them, as they will solemnly proclaim —
" What, shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world,
and lose his own soul ? Or what shall u man give in exchange
for his soul?" God's true friends among laymen will be
there, to afford countenance and encouragement to every good
word and work. Many there will be, who can never forget a

New England Sabbath, a New England sanctuary, New
England schools, colleges, court3 of justice, and halls of legis-
lation ; New England industry, energy, economy, and liberal-
ity ; New England firesides and homes, with New England
fathers and mothers, wives, brothers, sisters, and little ones, so
dear ! And be assured that Slavery will not be there!

We address you, Gentlemen of the Association, in whose
behalf we speak, not as missionaries — nor even as a band of
Christian colonists. We address you not at all as men em-
barked in a religious enterprise. Your immediate object is
pecuniary. But we address you as our fellow-citizens ; as
sons and brothers of New England ; and as men, who, in a
mercantile adventure, have very peculiar moral responsibilities,
whether or not you succeed in any measure according to your
wishes, in obtaining the immediate prize of your calling. You
have interests of your own, and you have a concern in the
interests of others, which are immeasurably more precious to
you and to them, than thousands, and millions of gold and

I rejoice to see the evidence, which I find in the Preamble
and By-Laws of your Company, that you have begun with so
distinct and laudable an acknowledgment of the principles and
rules, by which only you can expect any such prosperity, as
rational, high-minded, honest and honorable men can esteem a
recompense of such toils, and hardships, and exposures, as
may await you.

I read thus in the Preamble :

" Whereas, by the acquisition to this Governtnent, of the im-
mense Territory of Upper California, a large field of operation has
been opened, whereby a company of Traders and Mechanics associ-
ated together for one common good, and by a strict observance of
those great and good principles, by which all men, separate or col-
lectively, can prosper — and can only prosper — those of Industry
and just Economy, can reap a rich reward for their labor; — we,
therefore, whose names are hereunto affixed, do by these presents,
severally covenant and agree to, and with each other, in manner
and form following — that is to say, we do agree to form ourselves
into a company to be called the Naurnkeag Mutual Trading and
Mining Company, for the purpose of carrying on the Trading and
Mining operations, in the vicinity of the Bay of San Francisco, in
California; and for the good order and government of the same — as
well as for the promotion of harmony and good friendship among
the members thereof, do assent to, and adopt the following By-

You feel, then, that you are " associated for one common
good." You speak of your purposes, as if willing that they
should be known and read of all men. You assume, that your


object is right — your end is just. To all this, or any part of it,
I can take no exception. For any thing which I can discover,
it is as suitable and as honorable to seek an increase of wealth,
by trading and mining in California, as by manufacturing in
South Salem. The great point is, to do your work and your
traffic honestly — violating no law of God, and no law of your

You speak of " great and good principles." You do well.
Every man should act from principle ; — sound principles of
truth, rectitude, benevolence, and honor. And if you would
desire that " blessing of the Lord, which maketh rich and
addeth no sorrow with it," you will make the Word of God
" a lamp unto your feet and a light unto your path."

" Order is heaven's first law." You will submit to law, if
you would have any order, any harmony, any peace.

11 Article VIII. — It is understood, by and between each and
every member of this Company, that each member shall make an
equal provision for the wants of the same; shall perform the various
duties which may devolve upon him, cheerfull} 7 , and in such a
manner as shall promote the best interest of all the members
thereof; shall at all times yield a ready acquiescence to the demands
of the officers of the Company — when such demand shall be made
in accordance with the provision of the By-Laws of the same, or
for the establishment of good friendship and kind feelings towards
one another; that they will, in all cases of danger, defend each
other — and more especially, in case of sickness of any member or
members, to administer to his or their wants — to use all the means
placed within their reach, to alleviate his or their sufferings, and
restore him or them to his or their usual degree of health.

" Article XVIII — In case any member shall, by sicknes-5 or
from any other cause, become unable to perform the duties which
devolve upon him — excepting such sickness or disability shall have
been occasioned by any immoral conduct; — such member shall con-
tinue to receive dining the entire term of such sickness or disabil-
ity, his share of the profits of the Company — the same as when he
performed his daily duties, when in perfect health.

" And be i; furthermore provided, that in case any member shall
have taken from him by stealth or by force, during the month next
following that in which the last monthly division of the profits of
the Company shall have been made, his entire or partial dividend of
siid profit- — then the Board of Directors at the next monthly meet-
ing, upon the same being clearly proven to them, shall cause the
: urer and Clerk to pav to said member, out of the Treasury, a
Bti in equal to thai which said member shall have proven to have been
lost. Provided always, that nothing in this article shall debar such
member from receiving his dividend of the profits of the Company
,-i i Ik fore.

" Ai:in i i \ I X . — hi case of the decease of any member, the
President of the Company shall take immediate possession of the
whole of such member's property, and cause the amount of the


same, and in what it consists, to be entered upon the records of the
Company, and shall, as soon as may be practicable, forward the
same to the nearest relative of the deceased."

By these articles, more especially, you make your Associa-
tion a Brotherhood, and a Mutual Insurance Company. You
anticipate that to which you are each liable, — sickness, suffer-
ing, sorrow, and death. These articles I have read with much
satisfaction, and with no small degree of tenderness of spirit.
They are noble in their purpose. Abide by them most faith-
fully, and great will be your reward.

It is immensely important that you should love as brethren
whose interests are one. I cannot too earnestly enjoin it upon
you, to " be kindly-affectioned one to another." You will
allow me to say to you, in the words of Joseph to his brethren,
" See that ye fall not out by the way ! " On your voyage you
will have urgent need to be careful of your spirit, your temper,
your countenance, your words, your tones, your deportment.
Bear and forbear. Never, never, dispute ! You will have
differences of opinion and feeling. You may discuss your
differences ; but see that you always speak truly, candidly,
kindly, and very mildly. One harsh expression may do irrepa-
rable mischief.

e; Article XII. — The profits of the Company — after the pay-
ment of all demands against the same — shall be divided equally
among the members thereof, at each monthly meeting — and for
which, each member thus receiving, shall give his receipt to the
Treasurer and Clerk."

You here anticipate " profits," which, of course, you expect,
or you would not engage in the enterprise. But do not anti-
cipate too much. Be prepared to see something else besides
gold. Be content with less than others obtain — with nothing
even ; rather than seek gain by unrighteousness, or in the
ways of ungodliness. Watch over your morals, as under the
all-seeing eye of God : and give HIM, also, " the tithe of all ! "

" Article XIV. — The playing of cards for amusement, gam-
bling, and the use of intoxicating drinks as a beverage, by any
member, is strictly prohibited ; — any member violating the provision
of this article, upon its being proven against him, shall be expelled
from the Company, and shall forfeit to the same, his entire interest
in the Company : — Provided, however, that nothing in this article,
shall debar such member from entering his plea for the violation of
them, and of making his appeal to the judgment of the Company."

I am much pleased that you have adopted this article. To
some, however, it may seem a little too stringent. But who of
you will ever lose any thing by the most rigid adherence to


every line and every word ? Amusement or recreation we all
need; but the best kind is often found in a change of employ-
ment. You must have some physical exercise. This will be
incomparably better than " the playing of cards." Books you
will have, instructive and entertaining ; and not one, I trust,
that is corrupting and demoralizing. Read the history of New
England, of the United States, and of other countries. Make


Online LibrarySamuel M. (Samuel Melancthon) WorcesterCalifornia. Outlines of an address before the Naumkeag mutual trading and mining company, at the Tabernacle church in Salem, on Sabbath evening Jan. 14, 1849 → online text (page 1 of 2)