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Transcript: Stangroomletter18580617

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Michigan Bluffs, Placer Co. 17th June 1858 Lost, strayed, or stolen! A
family composed of 3 adults and 2 infants, last heard of at Geneva
Switzerland, supposed from these mysterious and prolonged disappearances to
have become the victims of some tyrannical plot and to have shared the fate
of the other "suspects" anywhere within grabbing distance of the French
frontier. When last heard of several of the members of this unfortunate
family had been known to express strong opinions about tyrants, liberty,
and so forth. Dearest Charly, Unless you want me to put something like the
above in the papers with a note for especial enquiries to be made at
Cayenne, you had better communicate with your humble servant. I expected
you to be in England long before this time but I received today a letter
from [Watt?] dated the 23rd April, where he had not heard anything of you.
Have you been so long incarcerated that you find the prison walls the most

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shelter, or is the delay in flying to a more congenial clime merely caused
by the difficulty of winding up Grandmama's affairs? I often let our canary
out and am amused to watch his proceedings; I now amuse myself with
conjectures as to your movements but can form none satisfactory to myself
and hence my anxiety to hear from you a little oftener than every 2 ½
months. We are getting along slowly. Biler cries (grows fat), nurses, goes
to sleep, wakes.[ ||:D. C. al. fin?] He is, however, getting to notice
enough to enable us to amuse him, make him laugh for half an hour or so
when he feels well, which is a great relief. His only trouble is wind,
wind, wind, and when free from that he is a very good baby. His eyes have
got "straight" and the only source of anxiety in the maternal [illegible]
as regards external appearance now is the slight tendency of his hair to
"carrots"; we will trust to age to sober that down. When well he is really
a very bright and, in spite of his mouth and nose, almost a pretty child
and as Mme [illegible] wrote to a friend speaking of her youngest: If you
could only see his pretty blue eyes, he would make a fool of you as he has
already made of me. (I have, however, 2 companions in my misfortune.)

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Emily is getting strong again, though slowly, and I do not expect her to be
very strong as long as she has to nurse Young Dropsy. This whole state has
run stark staring mad about Frazer River. Many thousands have already left
and are leaving San Francisco at the steady rate of 400 to 600 per day. The
consequence is that all business is stagnating, mining is at a standstill,
it being difficult to obtain ordinary labour at $4 per day (many quartz
mills have had to stop for want of men) and property cannot be sold for
anything. There will of course be a reaction in a few months and I have no
doubt some good speculations might be made now with money. From all
accounts we have hitherto received, the District on Frazer and Thompson
Rivers must be both rich and extensive, but it is equally apparent that the
climate is too severe to allow the mines there to be advantageously worked
for many months in the year, and the Indians are sufficiently numerous and
powerful to give a great deal of trouble unless very judiciously managed.
The idea of a lot of California miners (the rowdy class or say ½ of those
who have gone) treating Indians

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with judgment at any time or with justice when they think themselves strong
enough to impose on them is simply absurd, and there will no doubt be
trouble. There is also a great deal of discontent and grumbling at the
exclusive monopoly of all trade by the Hudson Bay Co., which they will
probably find it very difficult to enforce, though I should not think that
could lead to anything more than a little ill feeling between the 2
nations. If my business continues as dull during the summer as now, I have
had some thoughts of making a trip up there over land with 2 or 3 others to
"look round", but I should neither leave any profitable occupation here to
go nor go with any intention of staying now, only if I should see any
opening for practicing or for mining. I could go there early next season.
Emily joins me in best love to Papa, Mama, Mat, Lucy and yourself. Write
soon, Dear, and tell us all about your movements and believe me Your
affectionate brother M. L. Stangroom