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Auction 12: The Zamorano 80 Collection of Daniel G. Volkmann Jr.

Lots 30 & 30A

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Item 30. Duflot de Mofras’s Exploration du territoire de l’Orégon, des Californies—“An admirable supplement to Humboldt’s account [and] the only early illustrated work on the Pacific coast comparable in beauty to the Choris or Litké” (Howes), with the splendid map which Wheat decribes as a “landmark.”

Item 30. Title page to Duflot de Mofras’s Atlas— “The atlas [is] superior to any other issued within that decade [and] this work was presumed to be a continuation of Humboldt’s description of the same region” (Cowan).

30. DUFLOT DE MOFRAS, Eugène (1810-ca. 1885). Exploration du territoire de l’Orégon, des Californies et de la mer Vermeille, exécutée pendant les années 1840, 1841 et 1842.... Paris: Arthus Bertrand, Libraire de la Société de Géographie, 1844. Text: xii [4] 524 + [4] 514 pp., 8 engraved plates. Atlas (20 leaves on thick paper): 3 leaves (title and prelims); 13 leaves (22 engraved maps); 4 leaves (4 lithographic plates); large folding lithographic map with original hand-colored outlining, on thin paper: Carte de la côte de l’Amérique sur l’océan Pacifique septentrional comprenant le Territoire de l’Orégon, les Californies, la Mer Vermeille, partie des Territoires de la Compagnie de la Baie d’Hudson, et de l’Amérique Russe. Dressée par Mr. Duflot de Mofras...Publié par ordre du Roi...Paris 1844. Le plan gravé par Jacobs, L’écriture gravée par Hacq... (91 x 57.5 cm; 35-3/4 x 22-5/8 inches). 3 vols.: 2 vols., 8vo (text) + folio (atlas). Text: 2 vols., 8vo, contemporary half green French morocco over green and black marbled boards, spines gilt-lettered, gilt-ruled, and with raised bands. Atlas: Tall folio, contemporary half smooth brown calf over purple marbled boards, spine gilt-lettered, ruled, and ornamented. Moderate wear to bindings (particularly fragile corners; head of atlas spine lacking approximately 2 cm at top; some joints cracked but strong), moderate foxing to tissue guards in atlas, images fine and crisp with only occasional light foxing, occasional mild intermittent foxing to text, and one short tear to folding map neatly repaired on verso (overall the map is fine, with bright outline coloring). A fine to very fine and complete copy of this superb set, the plates and maps excellent.
First edition of “one of the great books of the West Coast” (Graff 1169). Barrett, Baja California 734. California 49: Forty-Nine Maps of California from the Sixteenth Century to the Present (Carol Urness) 20n (citing Kislakovskii’s chart of a portion of the coastline of Northwestern America): “A copy of this map with additions was given to the French traveler Eugène Duflot de Mofras when he visited Fort Ross in 1841. This map was published in the atlas to Duflot de Mofras’s Exploration du Territoire de l'Oregon des Californies, Paris, 1844.” Cowan I, p. 74: “The atlas [is] superior to any other issued within that decade [and] this work was presumed to be a continuation of Humboldt’s description of the same region.” Cowan II, p. 186. Forbes, Hawaiian National Bibliography 1461: “A rare and important work on California and Oregon.” Harlow, Maps of San Francisco Bay 26n, 28, 29; Maps of the Pueblo Lands of San Diego 14. Hill, p. 87: “Very rare.” Holliday 319. Howell, Anniversary Catalogue 38. Howell 50, California 63. Howes D542: “Issued under French government auspices, it forms an admirable supplement to Humboldt’s account of the same region and is the only early illustrated work on the Pacific coast comparable in beauty to the Voyage pittoresque of Choris or to Litké’s account of the Russian survey of the northwest coast.” Huntington Library, Zamorano 80...Exhibition of Famous and Notorious California Classics 30.
Lada-Mocarski 120: “One of the most important works on the northwestern coast, including Alaska.” LC, California Centennial 39. Libros Californianos (Wagner list), p. 25. Phillips, Atlases 1457. Smith 2599. Streeter Sale 3323. Van Nostrand & Coulter, California Pictorial, pp. 38-39 (reproducing “View of the Mission of San Luis Rey”). Walker, San Francisco’s Literary Frontier, p. 37. Wheat, Mapping the Transmississippi West 474 & II, pp. 185-86 (illustrated opposite p. 180 in vol. II): “De Mofras’ map was a landmark”; Maps of the California Gold Region 19 & pp. xviii: “De Mofras, noted French diplomat-traveler, wrote at length in 1844 of his visit to Alta California, and his large map proved of great value to European publishers.” Zamorano 80 #30 (Robert J. Woods): “The author of this work was an attaché to the French embassy in Mexico City. He arrived in Monterey in May, 1841, remaining about five months.... He aimed to give a complete description of the country, its past history and present condition. He met Lieutenant Wilkes and Sir George Simpson. Each seemed to feel out the others as to the future policy of their countries towards California.”
The outstanding plates and maps in this wonderful set are but one of its many appealing features. Included are plates of Monterey, California missionary Father Duran, Californian throwing the lasso (taken from Smyth’s oft-repeated rendering as found in Beechey, Forbes, Dwinelle, and elsewhere), and the large, magnificent “Vue de la Mission de Saint Louis Roi de France dans la Nouvelle Californie” (near the present town of Oceanside, California). Charts and maps of California interest include the ports of San Diego, San Pedro, Santa Barbara, Monterey, Trinity, San Francisco, and Fort Ross. The elegantly rendered and engraved oversize map, one of the great and rare western maps, extends along the west coast from Mount St. Elias to Acapulco and east as far as Hudson Bay, Fort Leavenworth, and Austin, Texas. Wheat (Mapping the Transmississippi West 474 & II, pp. 185-86) comments on this map: “A landmark...because it made these western regions known in European official circles.... De Mofras was much interested in travel routes. East of Santa Fe he noted the ‘Route des Chariots des Etats-Unis,’ and (for the first time on any published map?) he showed what later came to be called ‘The Old Spanish Trail’.... De Mofras really should have been a California ‘realtor.’ For example, in the...interior valley of California he says: ‘Cette immense Valleé comprise entre la Sierra Nevada et les Mts. Californiens [the Coast Range], est arrosée de petites rivières et remplie de lagunes d’eau douce très poissonneuses. Ce pays est plus beau encore que la partie habitée de la Californie, son climat est plus doux, il presente des terrains fertiles, des bois de construction superbes et de vastes prairies ou paissent de troupeaux de Certs, d’Antilopes, de Taureaux et de Chevaux sauvages.’ [De Mofras] was a sturdy soul, and his highly original map has much to commend it.” Wheat comments in Maps of the California Gold Region 19: “[De Mofras’s] beautifully engraved map was much used by European cartographers as the basis for early gold-rush period maps of California and neighboring territory.”
Harlow includes two of Duflot de Mofras’s maps of San Francisco Bay. Plate 16 (Port de San Francisco dans la Haute Californie, 29.5 x 24.5 cm; 11-5/6 x 9-5/6 inches) “is a transcription in French of the 1833 edition of Beechey’s (q.v.) San Francisco Harbour 1827-1828, revised to include information obtained by Duflot de Mofras during his visit in 1841.... At the time of the California gold rush the Duflot de Mofras and Beechey charts of the bay were eagerly seized by publishers ready to pirate any material pertaining to this popular area” (Harlow 28). At the bottom of plate 26 is the inset map of the port of San Francisco (Entrée du Port de San Francisco et des mouillages del Sausalito et de la Yerba Buena, 13 x 24.5 cm; 5-1/4 x 9-7/8 inches), which Harlow describes as “a revision, in French, of Beechey’s Entrance of San Francisco Harbour 1827-1828, taken from the printed edition of 1833. Duflot de Mofras’ additions to Beechey’s survey were the location of William A. Richardson’s house at Sausalito, the extension of the road from the San Francisco presidio to Fort Point, and a representation of the settlement of Yerba Buena, showing the location of buildings” (Harlow 29). Harlow (26) discusses Duflot de Mofras’s manuscript map and its adaptation from Beechey: “In his text he fully acknowledged his debt to Beechey for the Plan of San Francisco Bay, presumably the Hydrographical Office edition of 1833, and Beechey’s work is probably as well known in this modified French edition as in the original English.” Harlow (Maps of the Pueblo Lands of San Diego 14) discusses the San Diego map (Plan du port de S. Diego, situé sur la côte septentrionale de la Californie, 22.5 x 17.5 cm; 8-7/8 x 6-7/8 inches), noting that it was “modeled upon the Pantoja plan issued by Espinosa y Tello in 1802 [Harlow 11], with the text translated into French, brazas into meters, and some alterations to reflect contemporary observations.... [Duflot de Mofras] appears to have been the first to show the hide houses at la playa.” On the same sheet as the San Diego map, at left is Plan de l’embouchure du Rio Colorado, dans la Mer Vermeille. (3 vols.) ($20,000-$40,000)

30A. DUFLOT DE MOFRAS, Eugène. Duflot de Mofras’ Travels on the Pacific Coast.... Translated, Edited, and Annotated by Marguerite Eyer Wilbur. Foreword by Dr. Frederick Webb Hodge. Santa Ana: Fine Arts Press, 1937. xliv, 273 + x [2] 352 [1, colophon] pp., 5 plates, 4 maps (1 large, folding). 2 vols., 8vo, original brown leather over tan boards, gilt-lettered spines. Light shelf wear, otherwise very fine.
First edition in English. Barrett, Baja California 2747. Hill, p. 87: “The scholarly notes add greatly to its usefulness. A handsome edition printed by a modern fine press.” Howell 50, California 1327. (2 vols.) ($400-800)


Following a decade of warfare that devastated agriculture, stock raising, mining, and commerce, Mexico achieved independence from Spain in 1821. Three centuries of assured mercantilism with Spain were abruptly halted, and, with no merchant marine, Mexico was obliged to seek new trading partners. Foreign trade was critically important, for it was the sole source of external revenue through customs duties which were employed as guarantees for bonds financed in London to support the republican government established in 1824. Service on these bonds was, however, impossible, and refunding was the norm, with some payments on accrued interest. With London financiers as principal creditors, Mexico granted numerous trade and mining concessions to British interests. Constantly confronted with internal unrest, revolt, and, finally, the Texian rebellion, by 1837 Mexico was financially destitute. In 1838, these economic problems were exacerbated by increasing claims of foreign nationals for damages during civil unrest, culminating in the “Pastry War” (so-called because of claims of a French baker for unpaid consumption of his wares by Mexican soldiers) with French blockade, bombardment, and invasion of Veracruz between March and December. Although successful in repelling invasion, Mexico agreed to pay French claims, thus increasing the national deficit. Furthermore, rumors of cession of California to Britain in payment of the London debt were rampant.
This was the situation when, in 1839, Eugène Duflot de Mofras, French attaché in Madrid, was assigned to the reopened legation in Mexico City, with instructions to visit the northwestern provinces of Mexico, report on the value of commerce, observe U. S., British, and Russian interests, and determine feasibility of French posts in the region. Following visits to Jalisco, Colima, Sinaloa, and Sonora in 1840, Duflot de Mofras sailed in April 1841, aboard Ninfa, from Mazatlán, via San Pedro, arriving at Monterey on May 6. On June 11 he met with commandant Mariano Guadalupe Vallejo in Sonoma, continued to Fort Ross, and returned to Monterey in July. On September 1 he sailed up the Sacramento River with A.G. Rotchev, manager of Fort Ross, to New Helvetia, where he met with John Augustus Sutter, with whom Rotchev was to initiate negotiations for sale of the Russian fort. Duflot de Mofras subsequently visited San José, Santa Cruz, and San Francisco, sailing from that port on October 18 aboard Cowlitz to the Hudson Bay Company’s Fort Vancouver, meeting the U.S. Exploring Expedition commanded by Charles Wilkes en route. He returned to San Francisco with Hudson Bay Company director Sir George Simpson and factor John McLoughlin and U.S. agent Horatio Hale on December 30 aboard Bolívar, and continued to Monterey. On January 3 1842, aboard Maryland, Duflot de Mofras sailed via Santa Bárbara to San Diego where he remained from January 18 to January 27, prior to continuing to Mazatlán, and thence to Mexico City.
Duflot de Mofras visited Alta California at a critical junction in its history, and provided important information on its economic life, demography, foreign involvement, and geography. Of particular value are descriptions of the Russian posts at Ross and Bodega just prior to sale; his clear suggestion of Sutter’s willingness to serve France, given prior service in Europe; and reports on the reputed plot of Isaac Graham and other Anglo-Americans to overthrow Mexican government in California. His conclusions on the California economy are favorable, with estimates of exports far exceeding imports; however, he found San Diego and San Luis Rey to be poor areas. His visit coincided with the presence of the French warship Danaïde in Monterey to protect French citizens, the very extensive exploration of California by Charles Wilkes, and, shortly after his return to Mexico, the invasion of Monterey by Commodore Thomas ap Catesby Jones, USN in October 1842.
The work of Duflot de Mofras, rather than an account of observations, is a history of Alta California, based upon extensive consultation of sources published by prior voyagers and visitors, and an analysis of its current state, one of the last prior to U.S. invasion. The maps accompanying the text are of great importance historically and demonstrate features, particularly to the interior, not found on other cartography of the period. Interestingly, Duflot de Mofras corresponded with Hubert Howe Bancroft (q.v.) in 1879. A well-annotated English-language translation appeared in a fine press edition in Santa Ana, California in 1937.

——W. Michael Mathes

Item 26. Duflot de Mofras—“one of the great books of the West Coast” (Graff), with a “landmark map” (Wheat).

Item 30. Early engraved view of Monterey from Duflot de Mofras’s’ Exploration du territoire de l’Orégon, des Californies.

Item 30. Engraved portrait of Father Narciso Durán (1776-1846), President of the California missions (1820s and 1830s)—Duran opposed secularization, arrested Jedediah Smith (1827), explored the Sacramento River to the Feather River, and devised a method of teaching music to neophytes.

Item 30. Magnificent oversize engraving of Mission San Luis Rey de Francia, located near the present town of Oceanside.

Item 30. Early engraved charts of Monterey and Trinity Bays, from Duflot de Mofras.

Item 30. Engravings of the ports of Santa Barbara and San Pedro (Los Angeles) from Duflot de Mofras.

Item 30. Important early maps of San Diego modeled on the Pantoja plan—“[Duflot de Mofras] appears to have been the first to show the hide houses at la playa” (Harlow, Maps of the Pueblo Lands of San Diego 14).

Item 30. Engraved architectural plan of Mission San Luis Rey de Francia (near present Oceanside).

Item 30. “A transcription in French of the 1833 edition of Beechey’s San Francisco Harbour 1827-1828, revised to include information obtained by Duflot de Mofras during his visit in 1841.... At the time of the California gold rush the Duflot de Mofras and Beechey charts of the Bay were eagerly seized by publishers ready to pirate any material pertaining to this popular area” (Harlow 28).

Item 30. Engravings of the ports of Santa Barbara and San Pedro (Los Angeles) from Duflot de Mofras.

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