(Written by Colonel J.C. Fremont in 1847 (and updated in 1852) about his explorations and observations of California during the Gold Rush.)
All live in tents, in bush arbors, or in the open air; and men have frequently about their persons thousands of dollars worth of this gold, and it was to me a matter of surprise that so peaceful and quiet state of things should continue to exist. Conflicting claims to particular spots of ground may cause collisions, but they will be rare, as the extent of country is so great, and the gold so abundant, that for the present there is room enough for all. Still the Government is entitled to rents for this land, and immediate steps should be devised to collect them, for the longer it is delayed the more difficult it will become. One plan I would suggest is, to send out from the United States surveyors with high salaries, bound to serve specified periods.
A superintendent to be appointed at Sutter's Fort, with power to grant licenses to work a spot of ground--say 100 yards square--for one year, at a rent of from 100 to 1,000 dollars, at his discretion; the surveyors to measure the ground, and place the rentor in possession.
A better plan, however, will be to have the district surveyed and sold at public auction to the highest bidder, in small parcels--say from 20 to 40 acres. In either case, there will be many intruders, whom for years it will be almost impossible to exclude.