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AUCTION 20

“The most complete and extensive work descriptive of California published in France at this time.” –Cowan

26. FERRY, Hypolite. Description de la nouvelle Californie géographique, politique et morale contenant l'historique de la découverte de cette contrée. Un précis des événements politiques qui s'y sont accomplis. Des renseignements détaillés sur sa topographie, son climat, ses productions minérales, végétales et animales. Des notions sur la minérologie, la métallurgie et la géologie. Le caractère, les moeurs, usages, coûtumes de ses habitants. La description de ses baies, ports, villes, missions, villages. Des instructions nautiques sur ses baies et ses ports. Le tarif des douanes en Californie. Des renseignements généraux concernant les routes qui conduisent en Californie, les lieux de passage, description de Chagres, Panama, du cap Horn et de la Terre-de-Feu, etc. etc. Par Hypolite Ferry, Membre de la Société de géographie de Paris. Avec une grande carte de la nouvelle Californie. Des cartes particulières des baies de Monterey et de San-Francisco. De L'Isthme de Panama. Du cap Horn et du Détroit de Magellan. Et plusieurs vues intéressantes de la Californie. Paris: L. Maison, Éditeur des Guides Richard, r. Christine, 3. Et Chez les principaux libraires de la France et de l'étranger [Printer’s imprint on half title verso: Paris.-Imprimerie Lacour et Cie, rue Soufflot, 11, et rue St-Hyacinthe-St-Michel, 33], 1850. [4], 384 pp. (lacking 385/386, last leaf of table of contents), 4 woodcut plates, 4 maps (one folding). 12mo, original grey printed upper wrapper (lacking lower wrapper). Upper wrap has marginal chipping, a few tears and spots, most of spine perished, text block split (stitching barely holding), mild to moderate waterstaining throughout, large folding map with tear at juncture with book block (no loss) and light marginal staining at left blank margin.

Maps:

Carte de la Nouvele Californie dressée d'après les travaux géographiques de Mr. Duflot de Mofras et du Colonel Fremont. Par Hypolite Ferry. Paris 1850 [below lower neat line] Gravé par F. Delamare R de la Harpe. 26 | Paris Imp. Bineteau, 6 Rue de l’Observance. | A. Paris, chez J. Andriveau Goujon, Rue du Bac No. 17. [at top above neat line] Deuxième Édition [key at lower left with symbols for various types of mines (gold, silver, etc.), forts, missions, Native American villages, ranches, etc.], scattered vignettes of wildlife and Native Americans. Folding lithograph map. Neat line to neat line: 39.7 x 50.3 cm. Wheat (Maps of the California Gold Region 155; Mapping the Transmississippi West 673) comments that Cowan says there were two issues of the map in 1850, and furthermore, the Bibliothèque Nationale suggests there was an 1849 edition (but Wheat never saw the latter). The present map does not have the Gold Regions hand-colored, as Wheat indicates (which was the case with another copy we had in the past). However, the Gold Region cuts a huge hatched swath through central California. In Transmississippi West (Vol. 32, p. 139), Wheat comments: “[Ferry’s map] was largely taken from de Mofras’ map... In general this map is good, marred only by the large ‘Nouvelle Californie’ in the center of later Nevada (but who was to know in France at this time that the term California was to be limited to the area that has become the State). One of the most charming features is the vignettes of Indians or wild animals scattered over the map. All in all, Ferry’s map was about as up-to-date as it could have been in early 1850.” The map extends to east of the Rockies and continental divide as far as Santa Fe, south into Sonora (showing part Baja California), and north to Oregon.

Carte particulière des Baies de Monterey et de San Francisco dressée d'après les Travaux Hydrographiques les plus Récents. H. F. [below neat line at left] Gravé par Alexis Orgiazzi, 14. R. Chanoinesse. Engraved map. Neat line to neat line: 14.2 x 8.5 cm. Wheat, Maps of the California Gold Region 156.

Carte topographique d'une partie de l'Isthme de Panama comprenant le Bassin de la Rivière de Chagres et la Route de Chagres à Panama H. F. [below neat line at left] Gravé par Alexis Orgiazzi, 14. R. Chanoinesse. Engraved map. Neat line to neat line: 14.2 x 8.5 cm. Route to California via Panama.

Carte d'une partie de L'Amérique Méridionale comprenant le Cap Horn et le Détroit de Magellan dressée d'après les Travaux des Capitaines King et Fitzroy. H. F. [below neat line at left] Gravé par Alexis Orgiazzi, 14. R. Chanoinesse. Engraved map. Neat line to neat line: 14.2 x 8.5 cm. Route to California via Cape Horn.

Plates [all engraved by Cuthwaite]:

Le Lac Pyramide D'après le Dessin du Colonel Fremont.

Le Fort Sutter.

Une Forêt de Pins en Californie.

Vue de San-Francisco en 1850.

     First edition(?) of one of the best and more comprehensive guides to the California Gold Rush for French-speaking miners. Cowan notes that two editions came out in 1850, and they are identical in content. Kurutz lists only one French edition. In the present copy printed above the top neat line of the folding map is “Deuxieme Edition” (most bibliographies do not set out this difference), and the map does not have the gold regions hand-colored.

     Bradford 1655. Cowan I, p. 84: “The most complete and extensive work descriptive of California published in France at this time.” Cowan II, p. 207. Holliday 368. Howell 50, California 81: “Among the plates are views of Sutter’s Fort, San Francisco in 1850, and the big trees of California.” Howes F101. Kurutz, The California Gold Rush 236a. Monaghan 689. Pilling 1282: “Short comparative vocabulary of American Indian and Asiatic Words, p. 203; Specimens of the Rumsen language, pp. 215-216; Lord’s Prayer in language of the Indians of the valley of Tulares, p. 217.” Rocq 16844. Sabin 24198. Vail, Gold Fever, p. 19. Wheat, Books of the California Gold Rush 75n; & 156. Not in Currey & Kruska.
     Written for emigrants, sailors, voyagers, and armchair travelers, this book is based on numerous official accounts and other fairly reliable sources of information. Given the rapidity with which this substantial work was published after the discovery of gold, it is a monument to editorial and authorial efficiency. Although the gold diggings and mining methods are given their due, the majority of the work seems intended for those who perhaps have plans other than mining gold. Such scope is in keeping with the author’s purpose of also encouraging and guiding the emigration plans of those who do not seek to get rich by digging for ore.

     The view Une Forêt de Pins en Californie, sometimes said to be perhaps the first of the Big Trees (Cowan), appears to be a reworking of a similar plate in the Wilkes expedition report showing members of the party measuring a gigantic tree. ($600-1,200)

Sold. Hammer: $600.00; Price Realized: $705.00

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