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THE

CALIFORNIAN.

A WESTERN MONTHLY MAGAZINE

Vol. II.- NOVEMBER, 1880.— No. 11.

THE NEW NAPOLEON.

Last spring I received a letter from the editor I found it impossible to get interested. There of the chief London magazine asking me to were about two hundred different names of write him an article to be entitled “A Week in stocks on the list. These were represented by Wall Street."

one, two, or three letters, or figures, or some I knew nothing whatever of Wall Street then. sort of abbreviated word that I could not underI resolved, however, to oblige my friend. I stand or distinguish, and I was constantly getwent into Wall Street at once to get the desired ting confused. information and experience.

Around this “ticker” gathered and grouped This was six months ago. I have just got a knot of eager, nervous, and anxious men. back. I have not yet written a line of that Ten, fifteen, or twenty at a time would clutch article. But I have material enough to write a at the tape, as it streamed out with its endless book bigger than Macaulay's “History of Eng- lines of quotations, and mutter to themselves, land." I know all I want to know about Wall jabber at each other, swear like pirates, drop Street. And, if you will pardon the digression, the tape, and dash away. Others would dart I may add that I am getting bald - headed. in, clutch the tape, swear or chuckle, as their

The first thing I did was to climb into the fortunes went, wheel about, give orders to their gallery of the Stock Exchange, and look down broker to buy or sell, as they prophesied the futinto the den of two thousand “bulls" and ure of the market; and so it went on all day “bears” that were growling, howling, roaring, from ten till three, when the battle was ended by and bellowing there. I have been in Bedlam, and the fall of the hammer in the Stock Exchange. I have presided at a Democratic State Conven- When I tell you that there are more than tion. But I never saw or heard anything like five thousand of these “tickers," or indicators, this. I said to myself, “This thing cannot go on

you can rm some idea of the magnitude of long. This thing must stop before night. These the business. If we give ten men to each men will kill themselves. This thing will burst, “ticker,” you have the spectacle of fifty thouexplode of its own internal fury.” But I looked sand stalwart men standing there holding up a up and read the legend above the President, little dotted string, waiting, hollow-eyed and “Founded in 1742," and then concluded that anxious, on the smiles of fickle fortune. To it would still go on.

this fifty thousand you may add two thousand Then I went to a broker whom I had met at brokers. You must give each broker, at least, the Union Club, and told him what I wanted five clerks, office boys, and messengers, which to learn. He kindly took hold of the tape swell the list ten thousand. To this sixty-two which continually streams out from the “ticker," thousand you can safely add two hundred thouas the little wheel of fortune is called, which sand speculators on the outside. So you have a constantly records the rise and decline of stocks, total engaged in this gambling of more than a and tried to explain all about it.

quarter of a million.

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Vol. II.-25.

[Copyright by THE CALIFORNIA PUBLISHING COMPANY.

All rights reserved in trust for contributors.)

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The stock broker is not necessarily a rich How patiently I held on to the tape along

He must, of course, have a seat in the with the other timid and hopeful little lambs! board, which costs about twenty thousand dol- We would exchange opinions, encourage each lars. But other than that he requires little other, and lay great plans for the future. We more than an office, and an indicator, or “tick- became very confidential, our little knot around er.” He takes the stock which he buys for you that "ticker;" and when one of our set lost to his bank, and borrows the money which he money he had our honest sympathy. They pays for it. But they do not long remain poor were pleasant days, these first, for stocks went up if they have a fair patronage, for their commis- steadily, and it seemed at last, when and where sions are enormous, double their old price, and I had least expected it, I was to make a fortthey have no risks whatever. They rarely deal une without either care or toil. I am perfectly in stocks themselves, and they are careful to certain that in those few weeks I grew to be a have plenty of “margin” for their own protec- better man. tion.

At last I closed out. I had in my hand Of the broker I am bound to say that I be- more than ten thousand dollars. I had not inlieve him honest, and not void of all conscience. vested so many hundred. What scribe had Besides, I found him, as a rule, a well read, ever been so fortunate! Stocks still advanced. well traveled gentleman. They chronicle fewer It seemed as if they would never stop going up. commercial failures by far than do the mer- I sat down and tried for days to decide chants of the great city of New York, and they what to do. Coolly, deliberately, and after as rarely figure in the courts.

much and as mature thought as I am capable But to return to my subject. Finding but of, I went back to Wall Street with my money. little interest in this great maelstrom of excite- I had no use for ten thousand dollars. I had ment without taking part, I, under the advice great use for fifty thousand. I hug myself in of my broker, bought a little Wabash. I satisfaction now, to remember that I thought bought Wabash because it was the first stock not so much of myself as of my friends at this on the list which I could distinguish from the time. I could get on with that sum well. But mass of two hundred names. And I came to away out on the great gold shore of the vast remember it because I had been born on its west sea I wanted to build a home-a city. I banks, as it were. Indeed, on the very banks would gather about me the dear spirits of old. of the Wabash River I have seen my father In some sweet spot where there were woods furrow the field for corn in the spring, while my and cool waters, a warm sun and prolific soil, mother followed after, dropping the corn in the we would meet and build a city-a city of reffurrow; while three little boys toddled after, uge-where every Bohemian might come and myself of the number, and covered the grain have a home, rest, peace, plenty, so long as he that lay in the little squares of the mellow or she should live or care to stay. I even earth. And so it was with a touch of tender- drew up a plan of my city, and framed a ness that I bought Wabash, and became one few brief laws for its government. I named it of the eager party holding on to the tape- Utopia. watching, waiting the turn of fortune's wheel. On returning to Wall Street, I chose three

She did not betray me. My stock began to different brokers-one a “bull” house, one a move upward from the first. It was not so dull “bear” house, and one a conservative" house. now. How interesting it all was! I called the By this I hoped to get all sorts of opinions. I click of the “ticker” the pulse and heart-beat of got them. the nation. If the land was healthy and pros- With my “bears," I sold St. Paul short. There perous, the pulse beat high and buoyant. If the was talk of rust, grasshoppers, rains, floods. St. land was threatened with drought, short crops, Paul would tumble to the center. It had alor misfortune of any kind, the pulse was low, ready advanced from eighteen to sixty-nine. I feverish, and dull. It was like a poem.

sold at sixty-nine, seventy, and seventy-one. I had now an interest in the prosperity of With the “bulls," I bought Pacific Mail. No the land beyond a sentiment. I was a part danger of grasshoppers on Pacific Mail. No owner in the one hundred thousand miles of drought, no floods or rust! Pacific Mail had railways in America. From that day forth I fallen from sixty-two, and would surely go back studied the geography of my country as never up to eighty. I bought Pacific Mail and sat before. My little up-town room in the fourth down to wait for it to go up and St. Paul to story was lined with maps of American railways. In less than a week I could quote the Things began to move my way. I began to opening or closing prices of half the stock on work vigorously on the plans for my city. I the list.

had arranged to bring my dear old parents

go down

commerce.

away from the Far West wilds of Oregon, where on through it all, as if utterly unconscious of they had dwelt for a quarter of a century. They these mutterings, and utterly careless of what had never seen the great city. Now they should men thought or did. Of course such coolness see it, hear the mighty preachers, and sail on and courage as this appeals to a man from the the Atlantic.

Pacific, and my interest in this man constantly How life widened out! I had an interest increased. now in every ship that sailed. The flow of I may mention here that I did not find the money to or from the land was to me of vital | average stock speculator much of a man. Quite concern. All commerce was as rich with inter- unlike the grand old California gamblers of our est to me now as the poetry of Homer. At ten first days, I found them a sober, cold-blooded, o'clock sharp I found myself holding on to the calculating lot. And here let me call attention tape, waiting to see if I had grown richer or to the gulf that lies between the stock speculapoorer through the night. All day, till the ham- tor and the legitimate railroad man. Let the mer fell, I stood with my finger on the pulse of line between them be not forgotten. The one

is to be shunned, dreaded, despised. The other I ought sooner to have mentioned that, from is to be respected, admired, sympathized with. the first day there, I found that the stock dealThe one, with a force of a quarter of a million ers did not so much inquire after the weather, strong men, lives in luxury and gives to the the probable ill or good fortune of ships, the world not so much as one grain of wheat. growth or failure of crops, floods or fires, as after This quarter of a million brokers and profesthe movements of one certain man-a small, sional stock speculators live on the fat of the dark, silent man; modest, unobtrusive, even land; and yet, all together, they never give to a timid, and shy man, to all appearance; yet a the world so much as one lucifer match. They man who held their whole world in his single are camp-followers who plunder the dead. right hand.

But the great builders of railways are quite “Gould is selling !” The street trembled, and another quality of men. Although railroad stocks fell two, three, four points in an hour. builders are often, much too often, speculators "Gould is buying !” The street started up, and also. stocks rose accordingly. Every rumor, good Gould is preëminently a builder. He is not a or bad, came coupled with the name of Jay man who tears down. If ever his hand touches Gould, and he was held responsible for all that a railroad, it seems to start at once into life, was done; while, in truth and in fact, this man, although it may have lain rusting and rotting nine cases out of ten, neither knew nor cared in its grave for years. If ever there was a man how the market was going.

inspired for any special work, in these later days, Never was a man so bitterly abused. I seek Jay Gould seems to be that man.

You may in vain for the mention of one word of praise, study the map of Europe and comprehend the or even respect, for Jay Gould during my half sudden movements and colossal combinations year in Wall Street. Perhaps I am too much of the First Napoleon, if it be possible. Then given to shouting for the bottom dog in the fight; turn to America, and see what this man has but this persistent and bitter abuse begot in me done and is doing here, and you will find that an interest in this singular and silent little man, his achievements far outreach those of the great and I began to study his life, and look into his Emperor. mighty enterprises. I found them so vast, so When I first traveled through Europe, I found grand, so far reaching and splendid as to be al- I had to have a passport for almost every one most incomprehensible. Certainly no Napo- of the thirty petty states. This was expensive leon ever had half such a brain. And yet, for and troublesome. But now Bismarck and the all this, I never heard a word of admiration. Emperor have tied all these together, and the Every man in Wall Street seemed to be so world calls them great. bound up in his own petty losses or gains that A few years ago the railways of the West lay Gould was looked upon as a kind of thermom- in broken bits and fragments; one at war with eter that marked the rise and fall of stocks. | the other, cutting each other's throats, and main"An inspired fiend," is the highest praise I heard taining standing armies of presidents and offifor him. Day after day you could constantly cers on enormous salaries, all of which the hear such expressions as these : “Some one will farmer had to pay for. shoot that before he is a year older," Jay Gould reached out his hand, remodeled “Well, he will never live to enjoy it,” “Let him all, consolidated all, swept the standing army look out what he is about,” “They fixed Fisk, out of existence, and gave the farmer a road and he was a stronger man than Gould;" yet that took his produce to market for less than very tranquilly the dark little Napoleon passed half the former cost

Bismarck, with a million men, tied Germany I should say that, instead of bowing down together, and the world applauded, although he before an effete nobility of Europe, and repeatdid deplete the treasury and double the taxes. ing their comings and goings in our present

Here a single man, assaulted on all sides by day, we should give some solid recognition to the abuse of enemies and feeble detractors, the great world-builders in our midst. without a dollar, except as he could make it out I should say that, instead of fawning upon of his scheming brain, has united and bound to- our own few Generals who made their little gether railways, and established systems which reputations by tearing down, we ought rather are ten-fold more important, every one of them, to forget them, and remember those who build than the unification of the German States; and, up. instead of doubling the taxes, he has doubled, And if the prophesied day of universal peace trebled, quadrupled the taxable property of the is to come, it will come in this way. When a countries wherein he has wrought. He has great-brained and ambitious man springs up given employment to perhaps a million of men among us, he will do, or undertake to do, that in building and maintaining and reconstructing which is deemed greatest. And if the public these railways; and, what is most important of heart is so coarse and uncultured as to still all, so reduced tariffs that the farmer can now cherish the old idea that it is greater to destroy ship his grain at a rate that must soon make than to create, then he will destroy. Let greathim a wealthy man.

ness be measured by the solid good a man does Take, for example, what is now called the to the world. He may be selfish in his work; Wabash system. A little time ago the stock he may be utterly so. Man is by nature that was selling at half a cent on the hundred. The

way. That does not make the substantial benold iron rails were rusting away, and the whole efits less. concern was bankrupt. Now, steel rails, thou- Measured by this standard, which I feel is sands of additional cars, and like new equip. the right one, I should say that this man, Jay ments generally, blossom all along the two thou-Gould, is not only the most colossal figure in sand miles now consolidated and merged in one America, but in all the world. corporation. And, with this new life, new towns It is a grand thing to fight for one's country. are going up all along the lines. Truly it may But it is a grander thing to make one's country be said of this man that he has built as many worth fighting for. cities as some men we call great have destroyed. This is the idea I should like to impress upon

I have mentioned the Wabash system only every young heart. It is such an easy thing to because it is the most familiar to me, and be a butcher. But it takes time, and kindhence I know that, under the presidency of ness, and skill, and refinement to raise the flock Solid Solon Humphreys, it must continue to for his shambles. flourish like a bay. Just as much might safely Our new Napoleons are to imitate this one. be said of railways away down in Texas, out They are to understand that he who strikes one on the plains, and even in the Mexicos, that blow toward building roads that tap the flow of have been built or called back into life by this golden grain to Europe contributes something little king of American enterprise.

toward enriching his own land, and also toward But perhaps I ought to draw the line here. feeding the hungry of the old world. I do not know Mr. Gould, and he very likely Of course, I know nothing of the inner life may take umbrage at what I have said; but I of my hero. I do not desire to know of it. should think that one who has borne so much The perpetual abuse of enemies has made him abuse ought to be able to bear this much well singularly alone and exclusive. Yet I am told earned praise from one who admires pluck and that his home - life is most perfect and sweet, achievement, and dares applaud.

and that his sons are growing up to be men of And now, right here I want the reader to great taste and culture. One thing we do know, stick a pin, and ponder well this one idea: however -- that to the suffering South, Kansas, Great-brained men are to be born to us here and other places, he has, in the most unobtruin America. What shall they do? Hew each sive way, sent more solid help than any one other to pieces, as in Europe? Nay. I trust man besides in the world. Fancy any old world we have grown beyond the age of barbarism. Napoleon heading a subscription list!

What shall we do with our Napoleons? I To have learned what I have of the magnishould say, recognize them when they come. tude and importance of this new Napoleon's I should say, in the first place, let us get rid of work, knitting the lakes to the gulf, the Atlantic that brutal idea which we have inherited from to the Pacific, the North to the South, in a netEurope, that it is a nobler thing to burn a city work of steel that nothing can ever break--this than to build a city.

was worth my half year in Wall Street.

Wall Street? How did I come out? Oh! One day my broker took me by the sleeve, Well, I was short of St. Paul and long of Pa- and led me like a lamb as I was aside. My cific Mail. I expected Pacific Mail to go up fun was over. And Utopia is indeed Utopia. and St. Paul to go down. They did, and I had No one with so little money ever entered twenty-one thousand dollars. But that was not Wall Street under better advantages. All men enough to build a city with. I held on.

were kind and good. I think no man there One day it was rumored that the rust was ever attempted to mislead me. But it is simply not so bad in St. Paul after all. It began to impossible to make money there, and keep it. start up! Pacific Mail began to shoot down. Let me mention here that during my six months It was said the Chinese had established an op- there I paid my brokers in commissions eleven position line. I tell you it takes a big man to thousand four hundred and twenty-five dollars ! sit on two benches at a time. Ten to one he | These commissions alone will devour any poswill spill himself between the two just as sure sible profits. as he attempts it.

Of course, it is not a pleasant thing to admit I sold some St. Paul and bought more Pacific oneself beaten. But if this brief history of my Mail; but all to no purpose. They kept right venture in this dangerous land will diminish at

Then I got out of Pacific Mail at the low- all that tired and anxious army of tape-holders est figure it touched, and bought Wabash. I who waste their shekels, their days, and their began to flounder, and got frightened. I sold strength in vain waiting-why, I willingly bear

and bought, and bought and sold. I frequently the reproach.

. saw in the papers that I was getting rich in And, after all, I lost but little, having but little Wall Street, and kept on working like a beaver. to lose. And I learned so much, having so The end was only a question of time.

much to learn.

JOAQUIN MILLER.

on.

THE CHINESE ARMY.

Looking at the relations at presentexisting be- being controlled by the viceroys of the respective tween Russia and China, the present seems op- provinces, the duties of the Chinese Board of portune to give a brief description of the Chi- War, in comparison with those of similar minnese army. Much has been written about the istries in foreign countries, are much circumcapabilities of the soldiers of the Celestial Em- scribed. pire, but should Colonel Gordon, who is now in And now a word concerning the bannermen. China, be engaged by the Government to re- In the year 1643, when the present Manchu model the army, no doubt the task which the dynasty conquered China, a force of soldiers Russians have set themselves to accomplish was established, consisting entirely of Manchus would not prove so easy as they expect.

and Mongols. These troops were arranged China, like other countries, has its War office, under eight banners, palki. These banners but the care and vigilance of this department were further subdivided into two wings or is exercised, not only on behalf of the land divisions, the first, third, fifth, and seventh banforces, but, in addition, it has the control of na- ners constituting the right wing; the remainder val affairs. Its duties are multifarious. The the left wing. Each banner is distinguished charge of the grain transport, the security of by a triangular flag of yellow, white, red, and river embankments, the overlooking of the blue for the troops of the left wing; and the mandarins in charge of the nomads and half- same colors, with a border of green, purple, subdued savages in Formosa and Hainan. The orange, and lilac for the troops of the right surveillance of the keepers of the studs of cam- wing. Two especial forces are selected from els and horses are all supposed to be within its the banner corps, one called the T sienfung, or cognizance. Even the courier and postal serv- vanguard; the other, called the Hu-kiun ying, ice comes under its jurisdiction. The Board or flank division. These men serve as a guard has four bureaus attached to it, each bureau to the Emperor's palace, within the forbidden having special duties. The control of the ban- city, and as escort when he goes out. They nermen being vested in special hands, and the number in all twenty thousand men. The paoverlooking of clothing, equipment, and pur- trol of the capital is also intrusted to the chase of munitions of war for the regular troops, Manchu guard, and the defense of the city

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