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Symbols of the Great Seal of California by Caleb Lyons
The 1849 explanation of the seal's elements 

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Below is the original explanation of the State Seal, complete with all the spelling and punctuation errors of the time as written by Caleb Lyon, in Monterey, September 26, 1849.

Around the bevel of the ring are represented thirty-one stars being the number of states of which the union will consist upon the admission of California.

The foreground figure represents the Goddess Minerva having sprung full grown from the brain of Jupiter. This is introduced as a type of the political birth of the State of California without having gone through the probation of a Territory. At her feet crouches a grisely bear feeding upon clusters from a grapevine emblematic of the peculiar characteristics of the country. A miner in engaged with a rocker and a bowl at his side, illustrating the golden wealth of the Sacramento upon whose waters are seen shipping typical of commercial greatness and the snow-clad peaks of the Sierra Nevada make up the background while above the Greek motto "Eureka" (I have found it) applying either to the principle involved in the admission of the State or the success of the miner at work.

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