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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 38.djvu/822

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

fornia have been greatly benefited by the Exclusion Act. They receive better wages than before, and in many cases better treatment. The more enterprising among them show a tendency to become land-renters, and in a few instances land-owners. A Chinaman's point of view is about this: that the soil, climate, and opportunities of California suit him, and a "dollar and a quarter a day" is as much of a bonanza to him as the "sixteen-dollar-a-day diggings" were to the American Argonauts of 1849. He will stay as long as he can get his wages, and, if the Exclusion Act is strictly enforced, the chances are that his earnings will continue to increase. He has trades-unions of his own, and whenever it appears judicious, he strikes for higher wages and usually gets them. The laws that protect him against the competition of other workers of his own race are exactly to his mind.

Speculation in California has taken a turn of late years. Few persons invest in mining stocks any more, and there are not many other speculative securities. The glories of Pine Street and Pauper Alley have departed. Wealthy men who used to gamble in "stocks" now buy mines instead. Twenty or thirty California operators, who have left the street, have agents and experts visiting every camp from Sonora to Alaska, and the actual mine-workers have gradually secured nearly all the valuable properties of the coast. Speculation in real estate has become the form of investment among the poorer and middle classes. Town lots in new towns have had their day, and acreage now "takes the call." Over whole counties the farmers and fruit-growers are mortgaging lands to buy more lands, believing that they never will be so cheap again. The rule of the wheat-grower is that thirty dollars an acre is as much as he can afford to pay, and ten or twelve dollars is nearer the average cost of the grazing lands now changing to wheat. The rule of the fruit-grower is that he must have only the land that is exactly suited to the business, and he can pay from fifty to two hundred dollars an acre for such land, provided he has capital to plant it at once.

Books of California travel, with hardly an exception, lay stress on the restlessness of life here. "The whole State is for sale" is a commonplace of the tourist. But the average Californian farmer, instead of being a speculator, is as tenacious a land-holder as a Pennsylvania Dutchman. During the whole land speculation period in southern California, hundreds of Los Angeles County ranchers went on raising corn and potatoes as calmly as if the excitement had been a thousand miles away. There are large and fertile counties where nearly every farm for miles along the highways is owned by the man who "took it up in the fifties," or is divided among his children. There are rich valley townships where hardly three land transfers take