Verum quid non auri sacra fames compellit acquiescere?

Zamorano 80 Earliest Published Account of the Donner Party


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Zamorano 80

Earliest Published Account of the Donner Party

Colton’s large 1849 Map of California, Oregon, Texas
140. THORNTON, J[essy] Quinn. Oregon and California in 1848: By J. Quinn Thornton, Late Judge of the Supreme Court of Oregon, and Corresponding Member of the American Institute. With an Appendix, including Recent and Authentic Information on the Subject of the Gold Mines of California, and other Valuable Matter of Interest to the Emigrant, etc. With Illustrations and a Map. In Two Volumes. New York: Harper & Brothers, Publishers, 82 Cliff Street, 1849. Vol. I: ix [1], [13]-393 [3, blank] pp., 6 plates, large folding map. Vol. II: 379 [1, blank], 8, 4, 4 (ads) pp., 6 plates. Total: 12 woodcut plates, folding lithographic map within botanical border, original hand coloring (pink outline color, gold regions with highlighting in yellow): Map of California, Oregon, Texas, and the Territories adjoining with Routes &c. Published by J. H. Colton, No. 86, Cedar St., New York, 1849. Ackerman’s lith. 120 Fulton St. N.Y. (52.3 x 45.8 cm; 20-5/8 x 18 inches). 2 vols., 12mo, publisher’s original green ribbed blind-embossed cloth, spines gilt-lettered. Bindings lightly rubbed, spine of Vol. II slightly damaged and two ink stains near bottom. Scattered light foxing to text and plates. Large folding map with light soiling to outer blank margins and with four-inch closed tear at book block juncture (no losses). Overall a very good copy, much better than usually found, with contemporary pencil inscription.

First edition, containing “the first printed account of the Donner Party” (Huntington Library, Zamorano 80...Exhibition of Famous and Notorious California Classics 74). Braislin 1783. Cowan I, p. 230. Cowan II, p. 638. Graff 4143. Hamilton, Early American Book Illustrators and Wood Engravers 794a (citing the book and giving a short biography of English engraver J. Halpin): “An early view of Fort Laramie appears at p. 112.” Holliday 1091. Howell, California 50:232. Howes T224. Kurutz, The California Gold Rush 632a. Mattes, Platte River Road Narratives 204. Mintz, The Trail 466. Plains & Rockies IV:174:1. Rocq 16107. Sabin 95630. Smith 10219. Streeter Sale 3155. Wheat, Books of the California Gold Rush 208: “Prints some of the earliest reports of the gold discoveries.” Wheat, Mapping the Transmississippi West 593 & III, p. 75. Wheat, Maps of the California Gold Region 73. Zamorano 80 #74 (J. Gregg Layne): “Thornton was one of the real pioneers of Oregon and California, arriving in Oregon in 1846. He has always been considered a good authority and this work is among the best of the times.”

Colton’s large and handsome Map of California, Oregon, Texas, and the Territories Adjoining with Routes &c. is among the best of the commercial maps rushed to press in 1849 to meet the clamor for details on the route to California and location of the gold fields. Typical of this genre of map of the period, two earlier maps were combined (1848 Frémont and 1848 Tanner), and the gold regions were highlighted. The engravings in the book, the first of the Donner Party, were the work of English artist J. Halpin (fl. 1849-1867), whose father was an engraver for the Staffordshire potteries. After working in Russia and Nova Scotia, Halpin came to the United States in the late 1840s and engraved landscapes and portraits for publishers in New York City. Halpin engraved some of Timothy Cole’s landscapes and a noted portrait of George Washington. His original artworks were exhibited at the National Academy in 1850 and 1854. Later Halpin removed to Cincinnati. See Fielding.

Kurutz notes from the Volkmann Zamorano 80 Sale, Item 74:
From the viewpoint of California history, the most important feature of Thornton’s work is his lengthy, dramatic history of the Donner Party tragedy. The first volume features Thornton’s overland trek to Oregon in 1846 and a general description of the territory. His journal is characterized by its eloquence and flowing literary style. The second volume records the author’s trip to California by sea from Oregon in November 1847; it includes a description of San Francisco and its environs and California west of the Sierra and a report on the climate and resources of the region.

Thornton, beginning with chapter 7 of the second volume, tells the story of the Donners. It is the earliest published account in book form and, until the publication in 1879 of C. F. McGlashan’s narrative history, served as the primary source of information on this gruesome, heart-sickening saga. Thornton’s interest in this affair stems from the fact that he met many of the ill-fated California emigrants on the Overland Trail in July 1846. Thornton headed to Oregon while the Donner, Reed, and Eddy group “headed left” to meet Lansford W. Hastings and follow a new route to California. That route, as they soon discovered, proved disastrous. When Thornton later came to California he reported that he met many of the survivors, and they, in turn, asked him to write a history of the journey based on eyewitness information given to him in order to correct errors in the California Star and squelch a “multitude of floating rumors.” Their chosen author lived up to the task, writing in a gripping, spellbinding manner that matched the drama of the dreadful situation. His description of cannibalism, the murder of the two Indian guides for their flesh, and the ravenous appetite of Lewis Keseberg will send shivers up the spine. Thornton’s narrative included the heroic efforts to rescue the starving, snowbound emigrants and a concluding chapter on “The Sensations and Mental Condition of the Sufferers.” The stylized engravings based on drawings by J. Halpin are the earliest published illustrations of the tragedy, and, naturally, have been reproduced innumerable times.

Although Thornton’s account has been generally accepted by George Stewart, Bernard De Voto, and others, these historians, not surprisingly, question many of the details. In particular, the damning of Keseberg by Thornton has been judged as unduly harsh. Joseph A. King, in his recent study Winter of Entrapment: A New Look at the Donner Party, strongly disputes many of Thornton’s claims. King deduces that the author relied primarily on the account of William Eddy and not on several eyewitness accounts as Thornton originally stated. King called Eddy a “boaster and liar” who used Thornton “to construct many tall tales...which have badly distorted the factual record.” Furthermore, King asserts that Thornton obtained much of his information “from secondary sources, especially the wild accounts appearing in the press.”

Thornton’s two-volume work appeared at the time of the Gold Rush, and wishing to take advantage of the situation, he added an appendix entitled: “The Gold Regions of California.” Thornton wrote: “While the first portion of this work was passing through the press the world was astounded by a rapid succession of the most wonderful narratives of the discovery of boundless treasures.” Because of the need to go to press as quickly as possible, the appendix consists mainly of early accounts of the Gold Rush from other well-known observers such as Thomas O. Larkin and R. B. Mason. Thornton added letters from A. Ten Eyck from San Francisco dated September 1, 1848 and Walter Colton, August 29, 1848, and a description with letters from The Californian of San Francisco dated August 14, 1848. The last segment is “Practical Directions to Persons about to Cross the Isthmus of Panama.” The folding lithographic map of the gold regions, western territories, and routes by J. H. Colton is one of the most famous from the Gold Rush era.

(2 vols.) ($2,500-5,000)
Early geologic reports on California mines by the first state geologist
141. TRASK, John B[oardman]. 4 reports:
[1] In the Assembly. Session of 1853. Prof. John B. Trask’s Report on the Geology of the Sierra Nevada, or California Range. [San Francisco]: George Kerr, State Printer. 30 pp. Cowan II, p. 643. Greenwood 428 (locating copies at California State Library, Huntington, and Bancroft). Kurutz, The California Gold Rush 636. Wheat, Books of the California Gold Rush 209: “One of several worthwhile contributions of this notable early geologist and physician.”
[2] Document No. 9. In the Assembly. Session 1854. Report of the Geology of the Coast Mountains, and Part of the Sierra Nevada: Embracing Their Industrial Resources in Agriculture and Mining, By Dr. John B. Trask. [Sacramento]: B. B. Redding, State Printer. 95 [1, blank] pp. Anderson Sale 1604:578. Greenwood 526 (locating copies at Huntington and Bancroft): “Examination of the resources of Placer, Nevada, El Dorado and Calaveras counties, with description of the country, mines, etc.” Norris 3950.

[3] Document No. 14. In Senate. Session 1855. Report of the Geology of the Coast Mountains; Embracing Their Agricultural Resources and Mineral Productions. Also, Portions of the Middle and Northern Mining Districts. By Dr. John B. Trask. [Sacramento]: B. B. Redding, State Printer. 91 [4] pp. Anderson Sale 1604:579 (selling in 1921 for the amazing price of 25 cents): “Narrative of a tour of observation, with account of the mines, etc.” Cowan II, p. 643. Greenwood 622 (locating copies at Huntington and Bancroft). Norris 5593.

[4] Document No. 14. In Senate. Session of 1856. Report of the Geology of Northern and Southern California, Embracing the Mineral and Agricultural Resources of Those Sections; With Statistics of the Northern, Southern and Middle Mines. By Dr. John B. Trask. [Sacramento]: James Allen, State Printer. 66 pp. Cowan II, p. 643. Greenwood 776 (locating copies at California Historical Society, Huntington, Bancroft, and Streeter).
4 vols., 8vo, later pale green boards with printed paper spine labels. Except for occasional foxing and browning, very fine.
First editions of very early scientific reports on California mineral resources and geology, including detailed listings of mines in operation with statistics history of various mines, and other valuable documentation not found elsewhere. While not so riveting as a pocket map of the Gold Rush or a book like Marryat’s graced with alluring iconography, these somewhat early California imprints are highly significant for their date and content. In some cases, the content extends beyond geologic considerations, such as Trask’s discussion of the “Present Government of Metallic Veins” in the report for 1854, in which he explores placing all mining operations under the aegis of the State, with a brief history of the Spanish and Mexican ordenanzas de minería (pp. 78-83). To locate all four of these early reports together is a feat, given their scarcity in commerce.

Trask (1824-1879), a Massachusetts-born physician, emigrated to Californian 1850, where he signed on with the Mexican Boundary survey. He became California’s first State Geologist in the perhaps most heady area of that science, serving from 1853 to 1855. Trask was a founder of the California Academy of Sciences.

Kurutz, The California Gold Rush 636n:

John B. Trask, the first state geologist, presented a highly technical report in which he covered California mining resources. In subsequent years, Trask produced more readable reports based on tours of the mining districts. In addition to this report and several others written in later years on California's mineral resources, Trask also published in 1853 an important map entitled Topographical Map of the Mineral Districts of California.

(4 vols.) ($750-1,500)

“A very significant and rather rare French pamphlet”

142. TRÉNY. La Californie Dévoilée, ou Vérités Irrécusables Appuyées sur de Nombreux Témoinages sur Cette Partie du Globe. Par Trény. Deuxième Édition. Paris: [Printed by Bonaventure and Ducessois, 55, quai des Augustins] Chez Tous les Libraires, 1850. 60 [2, ads] pp., 12 woodcut text illustrations. 8vo, original tan pictorial wrappers with engraved vignette on each cover. Backstrip frayed with some loss, light chipping along edges, but overall fine, original condition, clean, uncut and unopened. Lithograph billheads from a Parisian firm pasted to inner wrappers and bound with outer signatures (this oddity occurred in the Streeter copy, as well as another copy we examined). With the pamphlet is a fine copy of When the French Came to California, reprinted from the December 1943 (Vol. XXII, No. 4) and March 1944 (Vol. XXIII, No. 1) issues of California Historical Society Quarterly, containing an essay on and translation of Trény’s pamphlet by Gilbert Chinard, who refers to the original imprint as “a very significant and rather rare French pamphlet.” Gold bookplate of Albert Hooper affixed to inside upper wrapper. The fragile pamphlet is well protected in a custom natural linen and blue cloth clamshell case with protective pull-out tray.

Second edition. There were three editions, all in 1850, all with 60 pages. The bibliographical relationship among them has never been adequately explored. All are rare, and the only copies we trace at auction in recent decades are the Streeter copy in 1968 and the Volkmann copy sold by our firm in February 2005. The present copy is in better condition than either of those two copies. Braislin 1796. Cf. Cowan I, p. 232. Cowan II, p. 644 (listing only the second and third editions). Graff 4185n. Howes T347. Monaghan 1414. Rocq 17193. Sabin 96779. Streeter Sale 2655. Wheat, Books of the California Gold Rush 210: “Significant pamphlet.”

A propaganda publication of the Compagnie la Californienne of Paris, this work is uniformly flattering of California, the emigrant’s prospects there, and the company’s ability to assist. Valued because it contains matter not normally found in such French publications, especially translations from English-language newspapers. Most astonishing, however, is the description on pp. 57-60 of the departure of a group of the company’s emigrants on board the Jacques-Lafitte, which is made to sound like a veritable party cruise, greatly in keeping with a long tradition in French emigration literature stretching back to Charles de Rochefort in the mid-seventeenth century, who described the voyage to the West Indies as no more difficult than sitting in one’s living room. More interesting to those of calculating analysis, however, would be the letter of one Léopold Perrot, written from California to his mother (pp. 35-38). Although he includes something of a “Prices Current” list that seems to indicate not everything is expensive, he remarks that carpenters receive up to 100 francs a day and that the washerwoman charges 5 francs for every piece of clothing. Clearly, easier and surer money is to be made off of serving miners than in being one.

The engraved vignettes are uneven in quality; some, such as the wrapper illustrations, quite charming, while others are rather mundane.

Kurutz, The California Gold Rush 637b:
Trény produced this pamphlet on behalf of the California Mining Company, organized in Paris. Nasatir writes: "This was one of many pamphlets produced by the discovery of gold in California; but it differs from the majority of them in that it contains translation of excerpts from English and American newspapers as well as copies of correspondence from Frenchmen who were in California." Trény quoted extensively from Auguste La Coste and Hypolite Ferry. He included interesting letters from Captain Gabriel Lafond de Lury of Monterey, M. Gould Buffum, and M. Leopold Perrot from San Francisco. Trény included a section on the placers, the Panama Route, statutes of the California Mining Company, and extracts concerning the departure of the company. The illustrations scattered throughout the text delineate mining and other scenes in California.

Desiré Fricot's translation originally appeared in the December 1943 and March 1944 numbers of the California Historical Society Quarterly.

A New York surgeon in the Gold Rush—50 copies printed by Doxey
143. TUCKER, J[oseph] C[larence]. To the Golden Goal, and Other Sketches Dr. J. C. Tucker. San Francisco: [Privately Printed by] William Doxey, 631 Market Street, 1895. 303 [1, blank] pp., frontispiece (photographic portrait), 8 halftone plates. 8vo, original beige linen printed and decorated in black and brown. Spine slightly dark and a few flecks to binding, front hinge cracked (but holding), otherwise fine in a board slipcase covered with mottled tissue. Front free endpaper with Newbegin’s printed slip with purple typing.

First edition, edition limited to 50 copies. Cowan I, p. 234. Cowan II, p. 646: “Fifty copies were printed for private distribution.” Graff 4204. Hill II:646. Howes T381. Norris 3961. Rocq 16112. The imprint is the work of publisher-bookseller William Doxey (1845-1916), who emigrated from England to San Francisco, where in the last quarter of the nineteenth century his book store was a gathering place for the city’s literati and artists. The books Doxey published were usually printed by Charles Murdoch (1841-1928), known for his distinguished typography (see Item 128 herein). The best known work of the press was The Lark, which contained the first appearance of Gelett Burgess’ “Purple Cow.”

Kurutz, The California Gold Rush 639:
Joseph Tucker's widow prepared this handsome Doxey imprint for private publication in an edition of 50 copies. Dr. Tucker began his California odyssey when he left New York as surgeon on the ship Tarolinta on January 13, 1849. He arrived in San Francisco on July 6, and took the schooner Olivia to Sacramento. Tucker's account is significant for its summary of the Gold Lake excitement, Sacramento in the fall and winter of 1850, hunting in California, and Tucker's escapade as a filibusterer in Nicaragua and Guatemala. The good physician returned to California in 1859 via the Butterfield Overland Stage. This reminiscence contains a list of those he sailed with in 1849.


A Physician in the Gold Fields in 1849
144. TYSON, James. Diary of a Physician in California; being the Results of Actual Experience, including Notes of the Journey by Land and Water, and Observations on the Climate, Soil, Resources of the Country, etc. New York: D. Appleton & Company, 200 Broadway; Philadelphia: G. S. Appleton, 164 Chestnut-Street, 1850. 92, [4, ads] pp. 8vo, original tan printed wrappers (restitched). Moderate staining to wraps, small voids to spine supplied in sympathetic paper, pp. 82-83 abraded (loss of a few letters), occasional voids to blank margins infilled, book skillfully restored, washed, and stabilized. Preserved in a dark brown morocco and brown cloth clamshell case.

First edition. Braislin 1807 Cowan I, p. 235. Cowan II, p. 648. Holliday 1111: “An authoritative and valuable pioneer journal, by a trained observer.” Howell, California 50:235. Howes T451. Norris 4040. Rocq 16114. Sabin 97640. Streeter Sale 2656: “One of the best contemporary accounts in print of travels to the northern mines of California and of life there in the summer of 1849. To anyone interested in maps, his thumbnail sketches of New York on the Pacific, ‘without a house or tent visible,’ of Sacramento, ‘a few stores and houses,’ of the Johnson Ranch and Vernon and other places, are distinctly worthwhile.—TWS” Vail, Gold Fever, p. 25. Wheat, Books of the California Gold Rush 211.

Tyson sailed to California in January 1849 by the Panama route. His medical research plans fell apart, however, when he fell ill and found mining life disagreeable. He then retraced his steps back to the East Coast. Because he was a professional physician, his remarks are the first substantial ones by such a person aimed at protecting the health of immigrants and miners. In somewhat of a departure for his time, he recommends frequent bathing. Among his recommendations is to avoid drinking water at the Isthmus.

Kurutz, The California Gold Rush 642a:
Tyson states in his book: “My object in visiting California was two-fold, to become familiar with its diseases, particularly at the mines, and to select a location for permanent settlement. Becoming a victim to one of the former, and my tastes not inclining to the rugged hardships of the latter, I remained only long enough to gain the knowledge I sought.” Despite his short stay, Tyson produced one of the foremost accounts of the Northern Mines in the summer of 1849. The physician sailed from Baltimore on January 16, 1849 aboard the schooner Sovereign and reached Chagres on January 29. After crossing the Isthmus, he boarded the barque John Risdon, and arrived in San Francisco on May 18. Journalist Stephen C. Massett traveled with him. That summer, he established a hospital in Sacramento. He began the return journey home on October 1, 1849, aboard the steamer Oregon, and arrived back in New York on November 11.

Tyson’s book is important in that it not only described his adventure, but also included advice on how to stay healthy for those crossing the Isthmus or working in the mines. He wrote: “I never saw so many broken-down constitutions as during my brief stay in California.” A review of Tyson’s book appeared in the Buffalo Daily Courier for April 6, 1850.

“Probably the earliest work of a true scientific research to emerge from the Gold Rush”—Wheat

Author’s presentation copy to Abert

145. TYSON, Philip Thomas. Geology and Industrial Resources of California: By Philip T. Tyson. To Which is Added, the Official Reports of Genls. Persifer F. Smith and B. Riley—including the Reports of Lieuts. Talbot, Ord, Derby and Williamson, of Their Explorations in California and Oregon; and also of Their Examinations of Routes for Rail Road Communication Eastward from those Countries. Baltimore: Published by Wm. Minifie & Co. 114 Baltimore Street, 1851. [Part I]: xxxiv (introduction), 127 [1, blank] pp., 11 maps; [Part II]: 37 [3, blank] pp., 1 map. Total: 12 lithograph folded maps. 8vo, original blindstamped black cloth, spine gilt lettered: GEOLOGY AND RESOURS OF CALIFORA. Light shelf wear, minor chipping to spine extremities, large folding map at front with light foxing and small tear at text block (no losses), some leaves of text lightly browned (due to paper quality), overall a very fine copy. Author’s signed penciled presentation inscription on front fly leaf to Col. J. J. Abert’s, with the latter’s ink ownership inscription on front pastedown. Abert (1788-1863), outstanding army officer, served in various capacities in the Topographical Bureau and War Department. “From 1834 to 1861 as chief of the bureau he was responsible for initiating and guiding the topographical surveys of the American West, and the work of the topographical engineers. Thus Abert had an inescapable impact upon the frontier and the nation’s evershifting borders, from east of the great rivers to the Pacific coast, and from border to border” (Thrapp).

Map List
[1] [Title enclosed in circle] The Sacramento Valley from the American River to Butte Creek. Surveyed & Drawn by Order of Genl. Riley, commandg. 10th. Military Dept. by Lieut: Derby, Topl. Engrs. September & October 1849. 55.7 x 43.7 cm; 22 x 17-1/8 inches. Cf. Wheat, Maps of the California Gold Region #149, pp. xxxvii-xviii: “Of major importance.” This map was created by Lieutenant George H. Derby, who although best known for his humorous writings under the pseudonyms of John Phoenix and Squibob, served with distinction as a topographical engineer with the U.S. Army, creating this important map of the California gold regions and performing the first reconnaissance of the Colorado River.
[2] Geological Reconnaissances in California. 29.8 x 37.8 cm; 11-5/8 x 14-7/8 inches. Wheat, Maps of the California Gold Region 179n. Wheat, Twenty-Five Maps California Maps 10n.
[3] Pl. I. Geological Section from Bodega Bay to the Sierra Nevada; about N. 800 E. 12.8 x 88 cm; 5 x 34-5/8 inches.
[4] Pl. II. Geological Section from San Francisco to the Sierra Nevada about N. 700 E. 12.7 x 90.5 cm; 4-7/8 x 35-5/8 inches.
[5] Pl. III. Geological Sections in the Gold Region of the Sierra Nevada. 11.4 x 25.5 cm; 4-3/8 x 10 inches.

[6] Pl. IV. Geological Section in the Gold Region from the Yuba to Coloma about S. 400 E. 12.6 x 39.5 cm; 4-7/8 x 15-1/2 inches.

[7] Pl. V. Geological Section in the Gold Region from the Cosumes [sic] to the Calaveras about S.S.E. 10.6 x 29.6 cm; 4-1/8 x 11-5/8 inches.
[8] Pl. VI. Section of a Valley. 16.9 x 13 cm; 6-5/8 x 5-1/8 inches. 2 views on one plate.
[9] Pl. VII. Survey of Public Lands in the Gold Region. 20 x 21 cm; 7-7/8 x 8-1/4 inches.
[10] Pl. VIII. Geological Section at Bodega Point above E. 12.7 x 22.7 cm; 5 x 8-5/8 inches.
[11] Pl. IX. Natural Cross Section in Veins of Gold Bearing Quartz. 10.7 x 25.3 cm; 4-1/8 x 9-7/8 inches.
[12] Sketch of the Route of Capt. Warner’s Exploring Party in the Sacramento Valley and Sierra Nevada. During the Months of August, September, and October, 1849 By R.S. Williamson, Lieut. Top. Engrs Assistant to Capt. Warner. 58.8 x 26.8 cm (23-1/8 x 10-1/2 inches). Cf. Wheat, Maps of the California Gold Region 182: “This map does not show the gold region, as such. On it, however, is marked the spot, east of Goose Lake, where Capt. Warner was killed by Indians on September 26, 1849.”

Second and best edition, with added 34-page introduction (“Geology and Industrial Resources of California”), errata, index, and table of contents, otherwise the maps and sheets are the same as the first edition (31st Congress, 1st Session, Senate Executive Document 47, 1850). Braislin 1808. Cowan I, p. 235. Cowan II, p. 648. Howes T455. Huntington Sale 1698: “The most important work relating to California that had up to this time appeared. It contains a minute account of the mines and mineral resources in general, lands, land titles, routes, etc. Also the official reports of Generals P. F. Smith, and B. Riley, Lieuts. Talbot, Ord, Derby and Williamson, of their explorations in California and Oregon.” Norris 4039. Sabin 97652. Vail, Gold Fever, p. 25. Wheat, Books of the California Gold Rush 212n: “Its author was a gifted scientist whose pioneering effort was of considerable value.”

Cf. Wheat, Maps of the California Gold Rush, 149, 179, 182 & p. xxix . Wheat, “Twenty-Five California Maps” 10 (citing the second map above): “Tyson’s geological report on California and its mines of gold was an important milestone, representing the earliest fairly detailed study of the region by a trained geologist. The map of Tyson’s tour of the gold-bearing area takes his party from Benicia to the Yuba diggings, thence south through the foothills as far as the Calaveras River. It constitutes a highly interesting record of a personal examination, with careful specification of the points where gold was actually being found at the time of its author’s visit.”

Kurutz, The California Gold Rush 643b:
Philip Tyson based this memoir on his personal observations of California during the summer and early fall of 1849. Tyson dated the report February 20, 1850. Wheat noted that this was “probably the earliest work of a true scientific research to emerge from the Gold Rush.” Tyson, in his report, described his visits to the “canvass” city of Sacramento, Mormon Island, Coloma, Jackson and Sutter’s Creek, and the general region of the Cosumnes and Mokelumne rivers. He was probably one of the first to realize that the Argonauts could have made more money by staying at home, and criticized newspaper reports as exaggerated.

The Senate ordered 5,000 copies printed, of which 1,000 were for Tyson’s use. Tyson proceeded to add a new title page, an errata page, and an extensive introduction dated Baltimore, November 10, 1850. Tyson also renumbered the government-printed text portions in brackets. The purpose of this separate edition, as stated in the introduction (p. xvi), “is to call attention to some of the views expressed in the Report, to point out confirmations thereof by subsequent events, and to notice a few of the erroneous impressions that have been formed by newspaper writers and others in reference to California.”

“One of the seminal maps in the history of California exploration and settlement”—Ralph Ehrenberg

146. UNITED STATES. PRESIDENT (Zachary Taylor). California and New Mexico. Message from the President of the United States, Transmitting Information in Answer to a Resolution of the House of the 31st of December, 1849, on the Subject of California and New Mexico. [Washington, 1850]. 31st Congress, 1st Session, House Ex. Doc. No. 17. 976 pp., 7 lithographic maps (6 folding). 8vo, contemporary half leather over marbled boards, spine lettered in gilt. Binding rubbed at extremities, faint remains of old number on spine. Light uniform browning. A very good copy, the maps very fine. Printed bookplate of Western Reserve Historical Society on front pastedown and their blindstamp on p. 1.

[1] Map of Fort Hill Monterey California Reduced by Scale from Lieut. Warner’s Field Map made in 1847. By P. M. McGill, C. E. Lithr. Ackerman.... (32 x 22.5 cm; 12-1/2 x 8-7/8 inches).
[2] [Untitled sketch of San Francisco Bay] (30 x 32.5 cm; 11-7/8 x 12-3/4 inches).
[3] [Untitled map of Lower California] Ackerman Lithr..... (30 x 32.5 cm; 11-7/8 x 12-3/4 inches).
[4] Plan No 2 Sketch of Port Escondido Lower California Ackerman Lithr..... (31 x 22 cm; 12-1/4 x 8-1/2 inches).
[5] Map of Oregon and Upper California from the Surveys of John Charles Frémont and Other Authorities Drawn by Charles Preuss under the order of the Senate of the United States Washington City, 1848 Lithy. by E. Weber & Co., Balto. (47.5 x 40 cm; 18-3/4 x 15-3/4 inches). Wheat, Mapping the Transmississippi West 613; Wheat, Maps of the California Gold Region 41.
[6] Sketch of General Riley’s Route through the Mining Districts July and Aug. 1849. Copied from the Original Sketch by Lt. Derby...Ackermann’s Lithogr.... (51.5 x 48.5 cm; 19-7/8 x 19-1/8 inches). Wheat, Maps of the California Gold Region 79 & pp. xxvii-xxviii (reproduced as an inserted facsimile following p. 46).

[7] Plan of the Route of the Expedition of Major Beall, 1st Drag’s for the Relief of the Wagons of Mr. F. X. Aubrey against the Apache Indians...H. R. Wirtz...Ackerman Lithr..... (23 x 14 cm; 9 x 5-1/2 inches).
First edition, House issue. Zamorano 80 gives the House version of this massive report priority; however, there is good argument that the Senate version may have appeared first. Becker outlines the differences between the House and Senate reports and explains how the House and Senate publications actually complement one another (Plains & Rockies IV:179b:1). The maps are the same in both reports. Barrett, Baja California 2462. California 49: Forty-Nine Maps of California from the Sixteenth Century to the Present (Ralph E. Ehrenberg) 27. Cowan I, p. 40. Cowan II, p. 875 (#419). Flake 9213. Garrett, The Mexican-American War, pp. 323-324, 420, 422. Holliday 152. Howell, California 50:230. Howes C53 & P447. Huntington Library, Zamorano 80...Exhibition of Famous and Notorious California Classics 14. Kurutz, The California Gold Rush 106a. Plains & Rockies IV:179b:2. Rittenhouse 558. Wheat, Books of the California Gold Rush 31. Wheat, Mapping the Transmississippi West 571 & 613. Wheat, Maps of the California Gold Region 41 & 79. Wheat, “Twenty-Five California Maps” 3n. Zamorano 80 #14.

Two of the maps in this report are key maps for the California gold region. The Map of Oregon and Upper California (Map 5 above) is the first separate printing of the southwest corner of the larger Frémont-Preuss map (Wheat, Maps of the California Gold Region 40). California 49: Forty-Nine Maps of California from the Sixteenth Century to the Present 27n (Ehrenberg discusses the 1848 precursor for Map 5 listed above; see Frémont’s 1848 Geographical Memoir in this catalogue): “One of the seminal maps in the history of California exploration and settlement.... It provides the first depiction of the California region based on scientific topographic surveys, notably expanding contemporary geographic knowledge of the Sierra Nevada and the Coast Ranges, and the drainage pattern of the Sacramento and San Joaquin valleys. Published on the eve of the California Gold Rush and statehood, this map also served as a powerful political document that promoted the prevailing American concept of Manifest Destiny. It was one of the first maps to depict the creation of the Territory of Oregon and the establishment of the Mexico–U.S. boundary, which was ratified on 4 July 1848; the first widely circulated map to announce the location of the discovery of gold deposits along the American and Feather Rivers; and it introduced or perpetuated numerous California place names including Kern River, Walker Pass, Owens Lake, and the ‘inspired’ term, Golden Gate, designating the entrance to San Francisco Bay.” The map apparently was published to satisfy the eager demand for maps of California following the riveting announcement of the gold discovery.

Wheat (Maps of the California Gold Region 40) comments on the prototype Frémont-Preuss map: “This important and beautifully drawn map became the model for many of the later gold region maps. The California portion is based on Frémont’s map of 1845, but the legend ‘El Dorado or Gold Regions’ has been added along the ‘Rio d. l. Plumas’ (Feather River), and the ‘R. d. l. Americanos’ (American River)....” Consult Wheat’s lengthy discussion of the large Frémont-Preuss map in Mapping the Transmississippi West (III, pp. 55-62): “It seems almost certain that the Frémont-Preuss map was the first map of large general circulation to announce to the world the epochal finds in the West which would now transform the life and society of that once-distant country” [emphasis added]. For more on this map sequence, see Cohen, Mapping the West, pp. 152-153 and Schwartz & Ehrenberg, The Mapping of America, p. 278: “Frémont’s epochal map of Oregon and Upper California [was] one of the earliest graphic announcements of the discovery of gold in California”; and Plate 171n: “Most accurate general map of the Far West for its time.”

Regarding Derby’s Sketch of General Riley’s Route through the Mining Districts (Map 6 above), Wheat comments: “Of the maps which were actually produced in 1850, those of Lieutenant George H. Derby are of particular interest. Derby, though better known today as a brilliant humorist (he was the author of ‘Phoenixiana’ and ‘The Squibob Papers’ [q.v.]), was a trained and competent topographer, and while the engravers seem to have garbled many of his legends (such as ‘Mormont’ for Mormon I[sland] and ‘Sororan Camp’ for Sonoranian Camp [Sonora]), nevertheless his ‘Map of General Riley’s Route through the Diggings’ (made in August 1849...but not published until 1850), his ‘Sacramento Valley from the American River to Butte Creek’...and his ‘Reconnaissance of the Tulares Valley’...are all maps of major importance. The first of these shows ‘Colluma,’ ‘Angel’s,’ ‘Jamestown,’ ‘Sullivan’s,’ ‘Woods’ and several other newly-settled camps. This map is the result of Derby’s cartographical work when he accompanied Brigadier General Bennet Riley on a tour of the California Gold Regions in the summer of 1849.” For more on Derby, refer to The Topographical Reports of Lieutenant George H. Derby. With Introduction and Notes by Francis P. Farquhar (San Francisco: California Historical Society, 1933).

Gary Kurutz in Volkmann Zamorano 80 Catalogue:
This thick government compendium contains a wealth of information on the annexation of Alta California by the United States, the changeover from Mexican to American rule, the transition from military to civilian government, and the earliest days of the Gold Rush. It systematically documents the work of the federal government in the newly won territory from 1847 to 1849. Arguably, these were the most important years in California history and no single publication provides as much raw data as does House Executive Document No. 17. It opens with a brief statement by Mexican-American War hero President Zachary Taylor, which touches on California’s desire to be admitted to the Union as a state. The federal publication then proceeds with a plethora of official proclamations, reports, circulars, and letters from virtually every important American official in California including Washington Bartlett, Walter Colton, R. B. Mason, Bennet Riley, Jonathan Drake Stevenson, Joseph Folsom, Stephen Watts Kearny, William Tecumseh Sherman, John C. Frémont, Henry W. Halleck, and E. R. S. Canby. Because of its importance to national affairs, the government ordered the printing of 10,000 copies.

The first part of this official publication details the establishment of a provisional military government following the cessation of hostilities with Mexico. It traces the fascinating but temporary amalgamation of Mexican and American law and grapples with such complex issues as land ownership and local governance. To provide background and context, this publication added in an invaluable series of appendices giving the English translation of several Spanish and Mexican laws and regulations concerning governance of the province beginning in 1773; provisional regulations for the secularization of the missions promulgated by Governor José Figueroa on August 9, 1834; and Governor Juan Bautista Alvarado’s regulations respecting the missions dated January 17, 1839. In short, it encapsulates the legal history of Hispanic California. This is supported by Brevet Captain H. W. Halleck’s detailed analysis of “laws and regulations governing grants or sales of public lands in California.” Such information would later prove essential when the U.S. government challenged the validity of Spanish and Mexican land grants in the early 1850s.

When rumors of a great gold discovery reached military headquarters in Monterey, the government dispatched officers to investigate the commotion. Because their reports and maps are included in this federal publication, it necessarily becomes one of the essential works on the Gold Rush. The most important and influential of these is Colonel Richard B. Mason’s famous report on his tour of the gold fields dated August 17, 1848. Vividly written, it is one of the earliest accounts to describe the effects of gold fever on the local population and one of the first to mention the use of that great symbol of the Argonauts, the cradle or “rocker.” Upon visiting Mormon Island, he writes: “The hill sides were thickly strewn with canvass tents and bush arbors. The day was intensely hot; yet about two hundred men were at work in the full glare of the sun, washing for gold, some with tin pans, some with close-woven Indian baskets, but the greater part had a rude machine known as the cradle. The discovery of these vast deposits of gold has entirely changed the character of Upper California.” At Coloma, he received a tour of the diggings by the discoverer himself, James Marshall. Mason’s report was read around the world, republished dozens of times, and appended to several Gold Rush books. Seeing the immediate future, he recommended establishing a mint in San Francisco.

Mason’s electrifying narrative was followed up by two other significant reports by Brevet Major Persifor F. Smith and Brevet General and Military Governor Bennet Riley. Smith’s letters from the Isthmus of Panama written in January 1849, concern the intense excitement of the California news and the hundreds of anxious gold seekers waiting to catch a steamer to San Francisco. Smith further expressed the need to stop Mexicans and other “foreigners” from taking the gold out of California. His alarm over non-Americans working the placers eventually led to the infamous Foreign Miner’s Tax. Major Smith, upon arriving in San Francisco, noted the number of enlisted men who had deserted their posts for the diggings. On August 30, 1849, a year after Mason’s golden sojourn, General Riley summarized his tour of the mines. He saw firsthand the harsh reality of hunting for gold and warned of exaggerated accounts. Riley touched on the tension between American and Hispanic miners and criticized “any class of men” who attempted to monopolize the gold fields. In a later report, he, like Smith, told of the difficulty of retaining his low-paid troops when the placers beckoned. Included in this publication is the excellent Gold Rush map Sketch of General Riley’s Route through the Mining Districts, July and August 1849.

General Riley, acting as military governor, quickly discerned the extraordinary transformation in California brought about by the gold mines and the rushing in of thousands of Argonauts. California, he realized, swirled in chaos and needed a stabilizing civilian government. Miners and their suppliers were clamoring for civilian rule and some even threatened to form a Pacific republic. This House document includes many of his letters and proclamations calling for the formation of a civilian government and election of a civilian governor. He reported on the progress of the Constitutional Convention held in Monterey and presented the text of the new state constitution. This government document concluded with reports on the establishment of postal service in California.


The Impact of the Gold Rush on the Original Inhabitants of the Gold Region
147. UNITED STATES. SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR. Report of the Secretary of the Interior, Communicating, in Compliance with a Resolution of the Senate, the Correspondence between the Indian Office and the Present Superintendents and Agents in California, and J. Ross Browne, Esq., together with the Report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, Inclosing the Same to the Department. [Washington, ca. 1860]. 36th Congress, 1st session, Senate Ex. Doc. No. 46, May 17, 1860. 44 pp. 8vo, new plain grey wrappers, printed paper label on upper wrapper. Very fine. Rare in commerce.

First edition. Norris 415. The report was based on the investigations of J. Ross Browne, a prominent political and literary figure in the California Gold Rush era and beyond, whose writings influenced both Samuel L. Clemens and Herman Melville. Although not specifically concerned with the Gold Rush, this devastating review of the way Native Americans had fared in California in the decade following reports little but desolation, destruction, dissolution, murder, and mayhem. Surveying each reservation individually, Browne concludes that the government’s charges are not prospering on any of them, and indeed are being made miserable by the very agents supposed to help them. In fact, in some cases, as Browne points out, the agents are using their positions to enrich themselves and steal from the Native Americans. As Lina Fergusson Browne points out in her edition of Browne’s letters, this report is “a hard-hitting, bitter, and sarcastic protest against the inhuman treatment the U.S. government was according its helpless wards” (p. xix in J. Ross Browne: His Letters, Journals and Writings, Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1969). The last several pages detail all the property available for Native American use on the various reservations. As an indication of the general state in which Browne found the reservations is the comment that a wagon on the Fresno Agency “is good for nothing.”

This report is under-utilized in research, and there is very little contemporary documentation to be found on the impact of the Gold Rush on Native Americans. ($200-400)

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