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Auction 15: Fine Collection of Californiana Formed by Daniel G. Volkmann Jr.

Lots 186 & 187: Diggers & Priggers & First California Account by a U. S. Citizen

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186. [SHALER, William]. “Journal of a Voyage between China and the North-Western Coast of America Made in 1804,” pp. 137-175 in The American Register (vol. 3, part 1). Philadelphia, etc.: C. & A. Conrad, et al., 1808. vii [1, blank] 583 pp. 8vo, original red roan over marbled boards, untrimmed. Spine worn with losses, boards rubbed, hinges starting, uniform age toning and light foxing, title page missing upper right blank corner, remains of old printed bookplate on front pastedown, perforation stamp of John Crerar Library on title page.


    First edition of “the first extensive account of California published in the U.S. by an American visitor” (Hart, Companion to California, p. 400; see also Hart’s American Images of Spanish California, pp. 2 & 38-39). AII, Virginia 605. Forbes, Hawaiian National Bibliography 396. Hill 1555 (citing reprint). Howes S324. Huntington-Clifford Exhibit (“Possible Titles for an Expanded Zamorano 80”) D: “Shaler, a New Yorker, left Canton on February 8, 1804, and arrived at the mouth of the Columbia River on May 1. From there he cruised down the coast as far as Guatemala. Thus, this is the earliest account of the California coast written by a U.S. citizen. (It contains much material on mission Indians).” Although Shaler had to shoot his way out of California, he was highly impressed with the area and immediately seized upon an idea that would grow increasingly obvious in American minds and come to fruition forty years later: “The conquest of this country would be absolutely nothing; it would fall without an effort to the most inconsiderable force” (p. 161). Shaler’s sentiments are very early rumblings of the concept of Manifest Destiny, which in 1846 would slouch toward Mexico City to be born.
($750-1,500)

187. SHAREHOLDER, A. Mining & Miners, and Diggers & Priggers. London: W. Kent & Co., 1854. 28 pp., errata slip, 15 lithographed plates (by Maclure, MacDonald & Macgregor). 8vo, stiff tan lithographed wrappers decorated with fancy medallion and ivy entwining the title, later brown cloth backstrip, original stitching. Wrappers slightly darkened, occasional light foxing to lithographs, overall a very fine copy of an exceedingly rare book. Contemporary ink stamp of stock and share broker George B. Rickard on p. [7]. In half red morocco slipcase with chemise.


    First edition. Ferguson 15601. Howell 50, California 648 (this copy): “An extremely amusing British satire on the heights of folly that accompanied the Gold Rush.”

Kurutz, The California Gold Rush 445 (locating three copies and calling for 13 plates): “This satirical piece is based on the experience of the English who invested in California and Australian mines.... The company’s holdings were located in the ‘Moschetto and Torpedo Districts’ of California.” The plate showing a pickpocket sums up the entire scheme: “The real Diggins of the Company and the only place where they’re likely to find gold.”
($2,500-5,000)


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