The First Edition of One of the First Publications On The Discovery of Gold in California. The First Guidebook Aimed at Gold Rushers.
This is one of the first printed guides to California, issued after the gold discovery became known in the East. It reprints the Larkin letter of June 1, 1848 and the Mason letter of August 17 which accompanied Polk's Annual Message to Congress of December 5, 1848, and other letters written from California in the summer of 1848. Sherwood got out another "guide" ėarly the next year.---TWS.
8vo. 40 pages. Original printed yellow wrappers (see condition description). Custom modern clamshell case.
J. Ely Sherwood's guidebook was one of the very first prepared for the gold rush, and it was the first specifically aimed at prospectors. The information provided in the guidebook is largely drawn from other published sources, and it includes a letter from the director of the U.S. Mint, Lieutenant Loeser's description of the goldfields, a June 1848 letter from New Helvetia, and an article on reaching California from the east coast of the United States.
The guidebook effuses optimism about the abundance of gold in California:
DESCRIPTION OF THE GOLD REGION
This description of the famous " gold region" of California is derived from Lieut. Loeser, bearer of dispatches from Governor Mason. He and his companions crossed the Isthmus, from the Pacific, by the way of Chagres. The news these gentlemen bring, from that remote Territory, fully confirms all the accounts hitherto received regarding its mineral wealth, and the gold fever which universally prevails among the inhabitants. The whole Valley of the Sacramento may be said to be one vast deposit of gold, the metal lying in more or less abundance from the crags of the Sierra Nevada to the embouchures of that river and its many tributaries. People were completely engrossed in collecting it, to the abandonment of almost every other occupation. Produce, and articles of clothing, were at exorbitantly high rates, and labor was scarcely to be hired, at any price. As an example: a cargo of Chilean flour, nothing to be compared to American flour, was lately sold at San Francisco for $14 a barrel the same, when conveyed to the gold region, readily produced the speculator three times the amount of the outlay. Every other species of food was equally enhanced in value on reaching the placers. The same may be said of implements for digging and removing deposit, such as spades, shovels, picks, &c.
The back wrapper prints "Practical Directions to Persons About to Cross the Isthmus of Panama."