Washington: Wendell and Van Benthuysen, 1848. Very Good. First Edition. Excerpt of pages 1 to 74 of Ex. Doc. 1 [8.75x5.5in]; , 4-73, , various reports with tables and three fold out maps (described below); Rebound in gray speckled paper wrappers with facsimile printing of report title page on front, tipped in loose to a red leather binding with a loose end paper and hand written ink title page with list of documents regarding the “Foreign Relations of the United States (the volumes from which these documents were taken were very incomplete)"; Some shelf wear with age-toning, soiling and light foxing to text, British Foreign Office black ink oval stamp and Foreign and Commonwealth Office Library round purple ink stamp on title page, library filing blue ink stamp with writing on verso of title page, same Foreign Office stamp on first page of text, occasional light pencil notations and underlining throughout, ink numbering of leaves in upper right corner of odd numbered pages, maps in very good condition with only a few minor foxing spots, creases and small closed tears at hinge. [Kurutz 105, Poore p. 567, Howes 446, Howell50 1577, Wheat Books 30, Cowan64 p. 426, Wheat Maps 51,52,54, Wheat Trans-Miss 565 (Ord map)] JJ. Item #14118
Richard Barnes Mason (1797-1850) was a United States Army officer and the fifth Military Governor of California (1847-1849). After gold was discovered by James Marshall at Sutter’s Mill in January 1848, General Mason toured the Gold diggings along the American River north east of Sacramento in June, 1848. The report was written in Monterey in August 17, 1848.
This document was originally as part of a larger Federal report to Congress on a number of subjects. Typically, these reports are disbound for specific reports and accompanying maps relating to different subjects. This item contains President Polk message, Secretary of State James Buchanan report on civil government in California and New Mexico with First Counsel Thomas O. Larkin letters p.47, Col. Richard B. Mason reports and three 1848 detailed maps supporting Mason’s report p. 56, an added report of Thos. AP. C. Jones, Naval Commander-in-Chief Naval Forces, Pacific Ocean and Larkin, p.67 and Coastal Survey and land Office reports, p. 69.
The three maps in Mason’s report are: Upper Mines No. 1 and 8 with Lower Mines No. 3 [6.5x9in neat line, 8x10.75in sheet], Positions of the Upper and Lower Gold Mines on the South Fork of the American River, July 20th, 1848 [9.25x18in neat line, 10.5x19.5in sheet], and Topographical Sketch of the Gold and Quicksilver District of California, July 25th, 1848, E.O.C.O. (Edward Otho Cresap Ord), Lt. U. S. A. [21.5x15.25in neat line, 22.5x17in sheet]. These are important early maps of the Gold districts.
From Howell50, “… included is Col. Richard B. Mason’s celebrated report of his visit to the gold “placer” valley of the Sacramento, the earliest official account of the discovery of gold in California. There are several maps of the gold region, including Ord’s famous “Topographical Sketch of the Gold and Quicksilver District of California.”
The documents and maps described above were part of a number of reports collected by the British Government Foreign Office during the 30th Congress Second Session 1848-1849 from the House of Representatives and the Senate. The handwritten list of documents if interesting and appears to cover a number of issues important to the British government to monitor, especially after the American-Mexican war that significantly expanded the United States territory and with the ongoing Oregon boundary controversy.