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with the oldest inhabitant, from whom I obtained much valuable information (which I hasten to present), and who cheerfully volunteered to accompany me as a guide, to the lions of the city. There are no less than forty-two wooden houses, many of them two stories in height, in this great place--and nearly twelve hundred inhabitants, men, women and children! There are six grocery, provision, drygoods, auction, commission, and where-you-can-get-almost-any-littlething-you-want-stores, one hotel, one school-house-which is also a brovet church--three billiard tables, a post-office from which I actually saw a man get a letter--and a ten-pin-alley, where I am told a man once rolled a whole game, paid $1.50 for it, and walked off chuckling. Then there is a "monte
-a Common Council, and a Mayor, whom my guide informed me, was called “ Carne," from a singular habit he has of eating roast beef for dinner.—But there isn't a tree in all Benicia. "There was one," said the guide, “last year -only four miles from here, but they chopped it down for firewood for the post.' Alas! why didn't the woodman spare that tree?” The dwelling of one individual pleased me indescribably—he had painted it a vivid green! Imaginative being. He had evidently tried to fancy it a tree, and in the enjoyment of this sweet illusion, had reclined beneath its grateful shade, secured from the rays of the burning sun, and in the full enjoyment of rural felicity even among the crowded streets of this great metropolis. How pretty is the map of Benicia! We went to see that, too. It's all laid off in squares and streets, for ever so far, and you can see the pegs stuck in the ground at every corner, only they are not exactly in a line, sometimes; and there is Aspinwall's wharf, where they are building a steamer of iron, that looks like a large pan, and Semple Slip, all divided on the map by lines and dots, into little lots, of incredible value; but just now they are all under water, so no one can tell what they are actually worth. Oh! decidedly Benicia is a great place. “And how much, my dear sir,” I modestly inquired of the gentlemanly recorder who displayed the map;" how much may this lot be worth ?” and I pointed with my finger at lot No. 97, block 16,496--situated as per map, in the very centre of the swamp. “That, sir," replied he with much suavity, “ah! it would be held at about three thousand dollars, I suppose.”-I shuddered—and retired. The history of Benicia is singular. The origin of its name as related by the oldest inhabitant is remarkable. I put it right down in my note-book as he spoke, and believe it religiously, every word. “Many years ago," said that aged man, “this property was owned by two gentlemen, one of whom, from the extreme candor and ingenuousness of his character, we will call Simple; the other being distinguished for waggery, and a disposition for practical joking, I shall call, as in fact he was familiarly termed in those days—Larkin. While walking over these grounds in company, on one occasion, and being naturally struck by its natural advantages, said Simple to Larkin, 'Why not make a city here, my boy ? have it surveyed into squares, bring up ships, build houses, make it a port of entry, establish depots, sell lots, and knock the centre out of Yerba Buena straight.' (Yerba Buena is now San Francisco, reader.) 'Ah!' quoth Larkin with a pleasant grin diffusing itself over his agreeable countenance
that would be nice, hey ??.” Need we say that the plan was adopted-carried out-proved successful and Larkin's memorable remark“be nice, hey," being adopted as the name of the growing city, gradually became altered and vulgarized into its present form Benicia! A curious history this, which would have delighted Horne Took beyond measure. Having visited the Masonic Hall, which is really a large and beautiful building, reflecting credit alike on the Architect and the fraternity, being by far the best and most convenient hall in the country, I returned to the Solano Hotel, where I was accosted by a gentleman in a blue coat with many buttons, and a sanguinary streak down the leg of his trowsers, whom I almost immediately recognized as my old friend, Captain George P. Jambs, of the U. S. Artillery, a thorough-going adobe, as the Spaniard has it, and a member in high and regular standing of the Dumfudgin Club. He lives in a delightful little cottage, about a quarter of a mile from the centre of the citybeing on duty at the Post-which is some mile, mile and a half or two miles from that metropolis and pressed me so earnestly to partake of his hospitality during my short sojourn, that I was at last fain to pack up my property, including the remains of the abstracted melon, and in spite of the blandishments of my kind host of the Solano, accompany him to his domicile, which he very appropriately names "Mischief Hall." So here I am installed for a few days, at the expiration of which I shall make a rambling excursion to Sonoma, Napa
and the like, and from whence perhaps you may hear from
As I set here looking from my airy chamber, upon the crowds of two or three persons, thronging the streets of the great city; as I gaze upon that man carrying home a pound and a half of fresh beef for his dinner; as I listen to the bell of the Mary (a Napa steam packet of four cat power) ringing for departure, while her captain in a hoarse voice of authority, requests the passengers to “step over the other side, as the larboard paddle-box is under water;" as I view all these unmistakable signs of the growth and prosperity of Benicia, I cannot but wonder at the infatuation of the people of your village, who will persist in their absurd belief that San Francisco will become a place, and do not hesitate to advance the imbecile idea that it may become a successful rival of this city. Nonsense !—Oh Lord! at this instant there passed by my window the prettiest-little-I can't write any more this week; if this takes, I'll try it again.
Yours for ever
SQUIBOB IN SONOMA.
SONOMA, October 10, 1850. I ARRIVED at this place some days since, but have been so entirely occupied during the interval, in racing over the adjacent hills in pursuit of unhappy partridges, wandering along the banks of the beautiful creek, whipping its tranquil surface for speckled trout, or cramming myself with grapes at the vineyard, that I have not, until this moment, found time to fulfil my promise of a continuation of my travelling adventures. I left Benicia with satisfaction. Ungrateful people! I had expected, after the very handsome manner in which I had spoken of their city; the glowing description of its magnitude, prosperity and resources that I had given, the consequent rise in property that had taken place; the mani. fest effect that my letter would produce upon the action of Congress in making Benicia a port of entry; in view of all these circumstances I had, indeed, expected some trifling compliment a public dinner, possibly, or peradventure a delicate present of a lot or two-the deeds inclosed in a neat and