[CALIFORNIA]. BARTLETT, Washington Allen. “Letters from California.” Honolulu, Hawaii: The Friend, 1846. In four issues of 8 pp. each: Vol. IV, No. 20 (October 15, 1846), pp. -160; Vol. IV, No. 21 (November 22, 1846), pp. -168; Vol. IV, No. 22 (November 16, 1846), pp. -176; Vol. IV, No. 23 (December 1, 1846), pp. -184. Folio (29 x 24 cm), mid-twentieth-century three-quarter dark brown morocco over brown cloth. Scattered foxing and waterstaining at lower right blank margin, otherwise fine. Thomas Streeter’s copy with his pencil notes on front pastedown.
First editions of the first printed news of the Bear Flag Revolt and conquest of California. Forbes 1388. Not in usual Mexican-American War sources.
On page 158 is a note stating that the letters were originally intended for New York newspapers but somehow were diverted to Hawaii. “Interest in California began in 1846 with a series of letters commencing October 15, 1846 signed ‘T.F.W.’ or the Farthest West” (Forbes).
Bartlett gives emigration news, prices, availability of land, probability of successful mining of all kinds of minerals, and ease of travel between the U.S. and California. Most important, Bartlett reports on the Bear Flag Revolt (November 16 issue) with a summation and selected quotes from Ide’s proclamation and an account of the Conquest of California by U.S. forces (December 1 issue). These issues include transcriptions of Stockton’s announcement of war with Mexico and of the blockade of Southern California, the activities of the Mormon Battalion, an uprising of Native Americans near Sutter’s Fort, and a Mexican attack against forty Americans at Los Angeles.
Bartlett (1824-1887) emigrated to California in 1849 and worked as a printer, issuing the first English-language book printed in California—Wierzbicki’s California as It Is and as It May Be (1849). Active in the Democratic party and the Vigilance Committee of 1856, he was mayor of San Francisco (1882-1886) and governor of California in 1887, dying in office in his first year. Following the Conquest of California, an inquiry was made regarding his possible misconduct in the conquest.