Last night at 8:15, Joshua Norton, universally known, and known almost only as Emperor Norton, died suddenly in this city. The similar death of the first citizen of San Francisco, or the highest municipal officer of the city, would not have caused so general a sensation as that of the harmless old man whose monomania never distorted at least a heart which was wholesome, and hardly affected a mind which had once been of the shrewdest, other than in the method of his sovereignty of the United States and Protectorate of Mexico. He had started from Kearny Street up California Street, with the intention of occupying a seat in the rooms of the Academy of Science during the debate of the Hastings Society. Almost as he reached the East line of Dupont Street on the south pavement of California, he halted for a moment, then staggered forward, halted again and then fell prone on the sidewalk. Wm. Proll, doing business at 537 California Street, was going up California Street immediately behind the Emperor, saw him fall, and hastened to aid him. With the assistance of others who quickly arrived, the Emperor was placed in a sitting posture on the wet pavement and his back supported against the wall of the corner house. His speechlessness and his head fallen forward on his breast indicated to the rapidly gathering crowd, every one of whom knew him and knew him to be highly temperate, that something serious had befallen him and the police officer on the beat hastened for a carriage to convey him to the City Receiving Hospital. Speedily as the hack had been procured, when it arrived at the place Norton was dead.
On the reeking pavement, in the darkness of a moonless night under the dripping rain, and surrounded by a hastily gathered crowd of wondering strangers, Norton I, by the grace of God, Emperor of the United States and Protector of Mexico, departed this life. Other sovereigns have died with no more of kindly care--other sovereigns have died as they have lived with all the pomp of earthly majesty, but death having touched them, Norton I rises up the exact peer of the haughtiest King or Kaiser that ever wore a crown. Perhaps he will rise more than the peer of most of them. He had a better claim to kindly consideration than that his lot "forbade to wade through slaughter to a throne and shut the gates of mercy on mankind." Through his harmless proclamations can always be traced an innate gentleness of heat, a desire to effect uses and a courtesy, the possession of which would materially improve the bitterful living princes whose names will naturally suggest themselves.
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