The Town Crier

San Francisco News Letter/February 13, 1869

“Hear the Crier?” “What the devil art thou?”
“One that will play the devil, sir, with you.”

The Tax-Payers’ Union met last Monday evening and were addressed by Dr. Henry Gibbons. The Doctor said that active moneyed men were in demand to join the Union. Men of means were needed by the Union; in fact the treasury of the Union could not well do without them. Good—moneyed—men were apt to hang back in such a cause. Millionaires were loth to invest their capital in growing enterprises of this sort, and had an unaccountable antipathy to identifying themselves with nascent vigilance committees. They were disposed to submit slavishly to the action of those whom they had selected to run the municipal velocipede. The Union must use every effort to rope—excuse him, lead—these men in. Once in they would like it. He himself considered it quite equal to the fun of watching at a key-hole, or placing obstructions upon a railroad track. It was especially indispensable to secure the adhesion of the News Letter, and the speaker proposed that a committee be instructed to confer with the editor. The Doctor was willing to attend in a professional capacity. His long experience in bone-setting had amply qualified him for this duty.

Our Criminal Market Review exhibits considerable activity. We may remark, generally, that under the favorable influence of the new Police, business is in a healthy condition. Since our last similar reference, moderate transactions have taken place in Burglaries, and a few operators have been cornered. Robberies are looking up; Assaults, active; Forgeries, dull; in Confidence-games there has been no movement since the late operation by the Young Men’s Christian Association; Embezzlements are quiet; some improvement is looked for with continued favorable White Pine developments; Murders, neglected; Juvenile Delinquencies are lively; Election Frauds, out of season; Custom House, ditto, command attention; Perjuries, brisk; since the operator, Josselyn, has been booked for San Quentin, Abortions are kept strictly private; a few transactions in Black Mail are reported, by the Alta, p.n.t.; Drunks continue depressed; we remark a better state of Scan. Mag.; Gambling tends downward; Arson is firm; Brokers, without improvement. For further details, see Sunday family papers.

There is a local editor upon the Nashville Press and Times, who, to the imagination of a Fitz-Smythe, adds a cheek which would do honor to the editor of the Barnacle. According to this authority the laws of nature have been for some time suspended in his vicinity, and the most extraordinary phenomena are as common as drunks. At one time a brick church is picked up by a gale of wind and set down two miles away in good order. At another a cow is blown across the Cumberland River, and rather likes it. Then a whole family is consumed by a flash of lighting out of a clear sky. His last exploit is finding a cave under the city, filled with ancient pottery and sarcophagi. The wonders that he is constantly bringing to light, however, are as nothing to the avidity with which our city papers snap them up for the delectation of their intelligent readers. The Tennessee reporter spawns these stories by the hundred, the simple gulls of our city press gobble them up with gusto, the country papers copy, and we rail.

We are a friend of the Farmer; that is our business. The farmer is a simple child, and to instruct him is our function. We call his attention to the fact that the rainfall of the present season is not up to the average. Probably he has not noticed this fact; the character of his occupation is such that it is likely to have escaped his attention. Should we have a dry Winter, it is quite within the range of probability that the next crop will not be excessive. This is important as bearing on the price of beans. We call the miners’ attention to this fact. Beans is the miners’ staple. A deficiency of beans would have an important bearing upon the development of White Pine. We trust that these counsels will not be neglected. [For further advice see the Heavies, passim.]

A new municipal ticket has just been gotten up at Oakland. That of an hour’s age doth hiss the getter-up. This one has appended to it a declaration of principles—a novelty in Oakland. This platform claims that John B. Felton should be elected Mayor, because he is John B. Felton, which the present incumbent has never been; that the present debt of ten dollars and a bit should not be increased unless desirable; that the streets should always run up hill but never down; that street lines should not be changed arbitrarily by anyone whose property they bound, as heretofore, and finally, that the oaks should be preserved, and persons visiting San Francisco compelled to wash their faces and keep their noses clean.

The time for sentencing Dr. Joseph H. Josselyn to the penitentiary has been postponed to the 22d instant. Had George Washington’s mother secured the services of one of his class, the 22d of February would possess no hallowed significance. There is no telling how many George Washingtons this man Josselyn has robbed us of; but it is consoling to reflect that he has doubtless nipped in the bud several Andy Johnsons also. Perhaps the man has done more good than harm, after all; and in consideration of this we trust his sentence may be a light one. Fifteen or twenty years at hard labor is quite enough for this unintentional benefactor.

The Herald, Call, and Dr. Cole are divided in opinion as to whether or no the small-pox is increasing. The number of new cases last week was smaller than the number the week previous; the number of deaths was greater. Now here is a pretty problem for editorial mathematicians, and the Call gravely solves it by saying: “There is not only a diminution in the number of new cases reported but the disease does not possess one-half its former malignancy.” You are not so liable to contract the disease as you were a week ago, but if you do get it you are more apt to die. But you die of a less malignant disease; there is comfort in that anyhow.

We do not like to be dictatorial, Herald, but you have a young man in your editorial department who would make an excellent mechanic, or something of that kind. His pen runs riot, and he is disposed to slop over. He betrays, moreover, a mild unconsciousness of hard sense, and a tendency to gush. As one of your earliest supporters and the chief prop of your enterprise, we hope we may be pardoned for sparing your own feelings and hinting to this youth that his services are no longer required in your establishment, and that he will receive his back wages by applying at this office.

The Barnacle says that those retail merchants who decline to close their shops at seven o’clock should be held up to the reprobation of the community. It is generally held that the time at which a man may close his shop is pretty nearly optional with himself, and at present there exists no pressing necessity for the employment of either physical or moral force. Mr. Barnacle, you had better not take the initiative step in the reprobation business, or we shall make you very sick.

It rained the other day, and the San Jose Railroad was washed away. This is not Major Hammond’s fault, who did not build the road; but is Major Lewis’, who did. It rained last week, and the Vallejo Railroad was washed away. This is not anybody’s fault. It snowed on Wednesday, and the Central Pacific was blocked up. This was the fault of the weather. It is expected to rain next Winter, and wash the roads all away. This is a matter of course.

The Rev. J. Gierlow delivered a lecture before the Young Christians. He had a great deal to say about beauty. He thought it rather singular that God should have taken the trouble to create so many pretty clam-shells and hide them away at the bottom of the sea where the Young Men could not see them, but finally decided that pretty things were God’s hobby. The clams are supposed to hold different views, and these are entitled to equal respect.

John Smith has got himself into trouble again; that fellow is always doing something. He has said Jane Moylan was a liar, and Jane is after him with a suit for twenty thousand dollars damages. We hope Jane will get that money; John has lorded it over this community about long enough, calling folk liars and such. He’ll be casting doubts upon Fitz Smythe’s last White Pine narrative next.

The Times says a certain extract from the Yolo Mail reminds it of a passage in one of Charles Lever’s novels. Which one, pray? We have never had the pleasure of perusing that particular story. This reminds us that the Barnacle praises Mrs. Southworth, of New York Ledger fame, as a writer of fiction. The Alta, it is well known, considers Noah Brooks superior to Thackeray.

The Secretary of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals has been sending round letters asking how much a horse ought to be compelled to pull. We should say, about one leading article from the Bulletin, a few local items from the Herald, an editorial note from the Alta, and a few scraps of wit from the Times. The Town Crier might jump on astride, to lighten the load.

A few respectable citizens are robbed or murdered every night in the public streets. A wise law prohibits them from carrying weapons for self-protection, or the matter might be much worse. Some of the garroters might get shot, and then we should have expensive trials for manslaughter, etc. As it is, the robbers invariably escape, and the State is saved a heavy expense.

The Rev. Dr. Thomas, Pastor of the First Baptist Church, who went East on leave of absence for the benefit of his health, telegraphs that he shall remain there. Cannot John Doughty be granted a temporary leave by his loving flock? No one would more cheerfully make the sacrifice than ourselves, and, really the Reverend John’s cerebral health is poor.

Mount Diablo is covered with snow. How long it has been so we are unable to state, but it looks to us as if the snow had been suffered to lie there several days without notice. If this be true, the dailies have been recreant to their trust, and should be made to feel the vengeance of an outraged public, whose confidence they have shamelessly betrayed.

A rich widow of thirty-five kidnapped a youth of eighteen, and brought him away from Sacramento to this city. If we were a trifle younger we should throw ourselves in the way of this female Mike Brannigan. If she has not objection to a few gray hairs, and a generally staid and respectable exterior, we are very much at her service.

At the meeting of the Board of Education, upon a motion being made to consolidate certain schools, President Cobb left the chair to remark that there was “A nigger on the fence.” We fear Mr. Cobb has a nigger on the brain, and that the poor fellow is very much cramped for room.

The dry-goods clerks have held a meeting to consider the propriety of closing the retail shops at seven o’clock. Their employers are not to be consulted the matter. We have not the slightest hesitancy in saying that it will be done; when your puissant counter-jumper puts on his war paint he’s a terrible fellow.

On last Sunday twenty-seven persons united with Dr. Scudder’s Church. They were mostly pupils from the velocipede school at the Mechanics’ Pavilion. The Doctor having succeeded in buying off the Olympic Club opposition, will once open a school in the Howard street concern.

Oakland having bought a fire-engine was too poor to purchase hose, and the pretty machine was useless. Finally, John Scott purchased both hose and carriage with his own funds; and yet, John Scott has not been nominated for Mayor.

A recognized understanding exists at the East that it is but proper the Pacific Coast should be complimented in the next Cabinet.—Herald. [Exactly; that understanding is recognized by the entire California, Oregon and Nevada delegations.]

The Times says that Dr. Hayes “reached the most northern point on the globe and planted the stars and stripes within five hundred miles of the North Pole.” If he had gone a hundred miles farther what point would that have been?

The Examiner assails a noted politician because he is an atheist. Truly, religion has a bargain in its new proselyte. The Devil rubs his hands in glee and chuckles himself hoarse at blows less damaging to Christianity that this.

On Tuesday evening there was a private party at the Lick House, and the reporter of the Barnacle was on hand with his little note-book. We presume he was kicked into the street, for he says something about a splendid hop.

An Acclimatization Society is talked of. It is stated that the Irish brogue has already been successfully propagated by the exertions of private individuals, and it is thought the Scotch burr can be successfully introduced.

It is now stated that the price paid by Mr. Tevis, on behalf of the Central Pacific Railroad Company, for the Evening Bulletin was $15,000. We have authority for saying that the report is exaggerated.

San Francisco should be renowned as a healthy city. Epidemics should be unknown.—Herald. [Will the Herald kindly urge this view until it brings about a reform in our physical structure, or a change of climate?]

A man was caught stealing a newspaper from the door of a residence, and taken to the station-house, when it was discovered that the stolen sheet was only the Alta. He was of course released at once.

A new policeman has been presented with a gold star. The religious papers will please not allude to this circumstance, for if it come to the notice of the thieves, they will be after it.

An insane man was found about ten miles from Sacramento, closely examining the condition of the Central Pacific Railroad. He was taken to the Union office for identification.

The Pacific States expect to be complimented by being represented in the next Cabinet. The highest compliment that could be paid them would be to reject all their present applicants.

At the last meeting of the Board of Education, Mr. Burnett nominated Miss Mary Murphy for sub-master of the Spring Valley school. Referred to the Committee on Sex.

The following is, of course, from the Alta: “Reports from the mines are very favorable. A gentleman from Treasure City reports nine cases of small-pox in that place.”

The guilt, by the doctrine of relation, goes back to the inception of the intent.—Herald. [Will the Herald kindly lend us some standard work on the Doctrine of Relation?]

The Los Angeles Republican says there is not a first-class paper published in San Francisco. It was thinking only of the dailies.

The Barnacle has discovered a new locality: Folsom Street above Bush.

(Source: California State Library Microfilm Collection)

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