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Lot 11

Gold Fever with Complications

11. BOURNE, Benjamin Franklin. The Captive in Patagonia; or, Life among the Giants. A Personal Narrative. By Benjamin Franklin Bourne. With Illustrations. Boston: Gould and Lincoln, 59 Washington Street, 1853. 233 [1, blank], [12] (ads) pp., engraved frontispiece and 3 full-page engraved text illustrations. 12mo, publisher’s original blindstamped red cloth, gilt-lettered spine. A few light spots to binding and lower front corner bumped, occasional mild foxing to text and plates, generally a fine, bright copy, with ink ownership inscription of Charles R. Seeley dated 1855 (possibly Shasta County pioneer of the same name).

     First edition. Ayer Supplement 20. Cowan II, p. 65. Hill II:169: “The legend of the Patagonian giants dated from the 1767 publication of the voyage of Admiral John Byron (attributed to Charles Clerke) and became the sensation of Europe.” Howell, California 50:136. Norris 372. Sabin 6910.

Kurutz, The California Gold Rush 69a:
Touched with gold fever, first mate of the schooner John Allyne, B. F. Bourne, and twenty-five others set out from New Bedford, Massachusetts on February 13, 1849. Bourne was captured by natives off of Cape Horn. He escaped after three months, boarded the ship Julius Pringle, and arrived at San Francisco in February 1850. After three days in this “mushroom city,” Bourne headed for Sacramento and the mines. With badly blistered feet, he made a difficult journey trudging through the snow near Georgetown before joining his brothers in mining. This enterprise proved unsuccessful and Bourne became seriously ill. He was carried back to Sacramento and San Francisco. Recovered, he headed back home via the Isthmus arriving in New York on January 13, 1852, after over two years of enduring perils on land and sea.
      Later versions under the title of Life among the Giants or The Giants of Patagonia (1853) did not include the California portion.


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