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Lot 69

“Jamais pays ne fut plus rapidement peuplé, ni de races plus disparates”

69. FRIGNET, Ernest. La Californie Histoire Organisation Politique et Administrative Législation Description Physique et Géologique Agriculture—Industrie—Commerce. Paris: [Imprimerie A. Parent, for] Schlesinger Frères, 1866. xv [1, blank], 479 [1, blank] pp. (pagination errors: 84 for 81, 496 & 297 for 196-197, 104 for 204). 8vo, contemporary brown cloth over French marbled boards, maroon gilt-lettered leather spine label. Light shelfwear, corners bumped, endpapers, preliminary and terminal sheets browned, untrimmed; overall a very good copy. Author’s ink signed presentation on half title; printed bookplate of William M. Fitzhugh, Jr., on front pastedown. Henry H. Clifford copy.

     First edition. Cowan I, p. 92: “Of the numerous works on California, this is one of the best and most complete of the period. Many authorities have been consulted and carefully cited.” Cowan II, p. 225n. Howes F387. Monaghan 709. Rocq 16868. Cf. Sabin 25969.

     One of the early French attempts to pull together a complete history of California by a man who had travelled extensively in the state and wrote several works on the U.S. and its progress. Writing against the background of the U. S. Civil War, Frignet attempts to examine the causes and conditions that led to the rapid rise of the state and to its obviously enduring prosperity and excellent future prospects. While admitting that gold was the impetus for the state’s rapid rise, he nevertheless balances that fortunate situation by analyzing at length the other mineral, agricultural, and natural resources that will lead to California’s continuing growth, long after the gold deposits have been exhausted. Although he attempts to give a balanced picture based on his extensive research and personal knowledge, he is extremely partial to San Francisco, on which he expends much ink and heaps much praise, even predicting, in the final ringing sentence to his work, that the city will someday rival New York, London, and Paris. ($200-400)


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