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

Lots 62, 62A & 62B

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Item 62. Thomas W. Streeter’s copy of the Reglamento—first printing of “the earliest collection of decrees and ordinances prepared for the government of Upper California.... Copies of the original are of excessive rarity” (Cowan).

62. [REGLAMENTO]. CALIFORNIA (Province). LAWS. Reglamento para el gobierno de la Provincia de Californias. Aprobado por S. M. en Real Órden de 24. de octubre de 1781. Mexico: Por D. Felipe de Zúñiga y Ontiveros, 1784. [2] 37 [1] pp., engraved royal arms on title. Small folio, modern grey protective wrappers. Expertly restored: four voids on title filled (touching only one letter), chips and tears to blank margins neatly filled throughout. Title moderately soiled, minor wormholes in blank lower margin of middle portion of text, generally a very good copy of an exceedingly rare, foundational book on California history. With Streeter’s penciled provenance note on p. 1: “John Howell August 1937 $335.” The John Howell–Thomas W. Streeter–Warren R. Howell–Henry H. Clifford copy. Preserved in a full brown morocco folding box.
First edition of “the earliest collection of decrees and ordinances prepared for the government of Upper California.... Copies of the original are of excessive rarity” (Cowan I, pp. 186-87). Barrett, Baja California 4359. Cowan II, p. 526. Howell, Catalogue 40:16 (this copy): “Excessively rare.” Howes C60. Huntington Library, Zamorano 80...Exhibition of Famous and Notorious California Classics 62. LC, California Centennial 30. Libros Californianos, pp. 16, 20, 24 (selected by Bliss, Cowan, and Wagner as one of the twenty most important books for a California collection). Mathes, California Colonial Bibliography 63. Medina, México 7503. Sloan, Auction 1:27 (March, 1994, Warren R. Howell Copy 2, fetching $46,400). Streeter, Americana-Beginnings 76: “Fundamental regulation, affecting a great many California land titles.... Of great intrinsic interest. This Reglamento was the basis for the government of California until Mexico became independent.” Streeter Sale 2447 (present copy, illustrated in vol. 4 at p. 1741 in its state before restoration). Wagner, Spanish Southwest 166. Zamorano 80 #62. ($125,000-250,000)

62A. [REGLAMENTO]. ARRILLAGA, Basilio José. Recopilación de leyes, decretos, bandos, reglamentos, circulares y providencias de los supremos poderes y otras autoridades de la República Mexicana. Formada de órden del supremo enero a diciembre de 1828. Mexico: J. M. Fernández de Lara, 1838. [4] 297 [37, indices] [1, errata] pp. 8vo, contemporary full Mexican tree sheep, spine gilt-lettered, sprinkled edges. Light shelf wear, otherwise very fine, interior crisp and clean. This copy belonged to Miss Rosario Curletti, noted collector who helped endow the Santa Barbara Mission Archive and Library. Laid in is original invoice of Bennett and Marshall dated May 16, 1857, to Miss Curletti.
First collected edition of the laws of Mexico for 1828, containing the second printing of the Reglamento para el gobierno de la Provincia de Californias (pp. 121-75). Howell 50, California 158: “The Mexican province of Alta California continued to be governed by these laws until they were superseded by American law in 1850. The present edition is unknown to Cowan and Wagner, and is not recorded in Zamorano 80. In addition to the Reglamento, this volume contains a number of decrees pertaining to the Californias, including an ordinance determining the strength of garrisons at the Presidio of San Francisco, Monterey, Santa Barbara, and San Diego.” Howes C60. Sabin 2108. Streeter Sale 2490: “This edition was long overlooked by bibliographers.” Arrillaga’s collected laws of Mexico 1828-1838 (published in 13 volumes 1833-1842) are a basic source on California, Texas, and the Southwest during the Mexican era. ($400-800)

Item 62B. Grabhorn edition of the Reglamento.

62B. [REGLAMENTO]. CALIFORNIA (Province). LAWS. Regulations for Governing the Province of the Californias.... [With]: Reglamento para el gobierno de la Provincia de Californias. Aprobado por S. M. en real órden de 24. de octubre de 1781.... San Francisco: Grabhorn Press, 1929. [2] 55 [1, blank] [1, colophon] + [2] 55 [1, blank] [4] [1] pp., decorated or ornamental titles, 16 initials printed in sepia. 2 vols., 8vo, original black cloth over marbled boards, printed paper spine labels. Very fine.
Limited edition (300 copies). Grabhorn (1915-1940) #119, 120: “Edwin Grabhorn has been heard to remark that he printed this book in lieu of another edition of Gray’s Elegy.” Bibliographical note by Oscar Lewis. (2 vols.) ($150-300)


As a means of improving political and military administration, and thereby, defense of the northern frontier against potential English and French incursions, Visitor General José de Gálvez planned the creation of two entities similar to captaincy generalities, beginning with the Comandancy General of the Provincias Internas of the Viceroyalty of New Spain, to extend from Texas westward to the Californias. By Royal Order of Carlos III in the fateful year of 1776, the new political entity was officially created and Teodoro de Croix was appointed as commandant general. Following extensive visitation, Croix recognized the immensity of territory included and divided the entity into an eastern and western division. The Provincias Internas del Occidente were to comprise the provinces of Alta and Baja California, Sonora, and Pimería Alta, the latter finally communicating with Alta California by a land route established through the Colorado Desert by Juan Bautista de Anza between 1774 and 1776. Thus, the seat of government for the western Provincias Internas was established at Arizpe in Sonora by Croix.
Reorganization on the northern frontier also affected Alta California more directly. Felipe de Neve, appointed provincial governor in 1775, had, as had his predecessors, maintained his seat of government at the traditional capital of Loreto. In 1776, Neve was ordered to transfer his governorship to Monterey, with Loreto reduced to the seat of the lieutenant governor, Fernando de Rivera y Moncada; this was the first political division of the Californias. As governor-resident of the growing province of Alta California with eight missions and three presidios, Neve, an Enlightenment secularist, sought to establish closer political control and halt jurisdictional conflict between the military and ecclesiastical authorities by establishing the unquestioned authority of the governor. Thus, enmity developed between Franciscan mission president Fray Junípero Serra and Neve, who responded by promotion of the establishment of civil settlements, pueblos, in San José de Guadalupe in 1777 and, later, Nuestra Señora de los Angeles de la Porciúncula in 1781.
As a means of clarifying and establishing the authority of the governor of Alta California, in 1779 Neve issued a detailed and extensive regulation in fifteen sections for the presidios, missions, and towns of the province. These ordinances, the first established exclusively for the Californias, promoted reform in the presidios; recognized the need for improved defense with a presidio at Santa Bárbara and detachments for the defense of towns; and sought to reduce corruption in supplying presidial soldiers. Most importantly, the regulations detailed the requisites for civil settlement, local government, agriculture and livestock raising, and land holding, and, much to the concern of Serra, reduced the future number of missionaries to one per mission, promoting the increased role of self-government among mission neophytes. These regulations were placed into effect by order of Commandant General Teodoro de Croix and, decisively so by a royal order of October 24, 1781, retroactive to June 1, 1779. The published Reglamento remained in force as one of the Spanish laws recognized by the Mexican Republic in 1828 until the transfer of Alta California to the United States in February 1848, and it was employed in determining land claims following California statehood in 1850. Tragically, the Reglamento became an even more important local legal document with the effective terrestrial isolation of the Californias from the viceroyalty as a result of the massacre of Rivera y Moncada, his party of settlers, and the Franciscan missionaries on the Colorado River at Yuma in 1780.
As in the case of many decrees, proclamations, and other legal documents, few printed copies of the Reglamento have survived use and handling by administrators. Reprinted in the great Mexican compilation of laws, Recopilación de leyes, decretos, bandos... published by Basilio José Arrillaga in Mexico, 1833-1842, the Reglamento appeared in a limited Spanish edition in Santa Clara in 1874, in a bilingual edition in San Francisco in 1929, and again in Spanish in Aranjuez in 1994.

—W. Michael Mathes

Item 62.

Item 62B. Detail from the Grabhorn edition in English of the Reglamento.