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Stock# 68888

The First Set of Published Charts Focusing on California

This is the fourth edition of Cadwalader Ringgold's A Series of charts, and the second to include Ringgold's San Francisco Bay surveys. The work has the distinction of being the first set of published charts focusing on California and is an essential work for California collectors.

This important piece provides important and key information regarding navigation along the California coastline and up the Sacramento River. In flourishing prose, Ringgold discusses features from rocks to harbors to tides. This is supplemented by eight plates which show marvelous panoramas of scenes around San Francisco Bay. In addition, six important early maps of the area are included, this will be discussed below.

Cadwalader Ringgold

Cadwalader Ringgold was a US Navy officer who served in the US Exploring Expedition and later headed an expedition to the Northwest, before retiring briefly prior to the Civil War. Ringgold had entered the US Navy in 1819 and commanded the schooner Weazel against West Indian pirates in the late 1820s. From 1838 to 1842, he participated in the Wilkes Expedition. In August 1841, Ringgold led a 60-man exploring party in San Francisco Bay, exploring the sources of the bay for 20 days. This expedition traveled as far as Colusa, California.

In July 1849, Ringgold returned to San Francisco as commander of an official survey team surveying the harbor, shortly after the announcement of the discovery of gold in California. It would be this survey that would result in the publication of the present work.

Ringgold's next expedition, the North Pacific Exploring and Surveying Expedition, ended prematurely for Ringgold when he contracted malaria. The expedition was met in China by a separate expedition under the command of Commodore Perry, who convened an official panel which determined that Ringgold was "insane" and relieved him of his command.


  • General Chart Embracing Surveys of the Farallones Entrance to the Bay of San Francisco | Bays of San Francisco and San Pablo | Straits of Carquines and Suisun Bay | and the Sacramento and San Joaquin Rivers to the Cities of Sacramento and San Joaquin | California
    • A fabulous map that reunites the information provided in the other five charts. The detail stretches from the coast inland to Sacramento, Stockton, and the other inland cities. Vallejo is marked as the capital of the state.
  • Chart of the Farallones and Entrance to the Bay of San Francisco California
  • Chart of the Bay of San Pablo Straits of Carquines and part of the Bay of San Francisco California
  • Chart of Suisun & Vallejo Bays with the Confluence of the Rivers Sacramento and San Joaquin California
  • Chart of the Sacramento River from Suisun City to the American River California
  • Straits of Carquines and Vallejo Bay


1-48 including title page and one plate (this appears to be a mistake as the other plates are unnumbered). Pages 1-43 discuss the important features of the area. Page 44 provides an index to the maps. Pages 45-48 provide charts of import nautical information.

Rumsey (4658) reports finding no differences between the third edition (also 1852) and this fourth edition.


The title page bears the stamp of the National Observatory, Washington, now known as the US Naval Observatory. Founded in 1830 as the Depot of Charts and Instruments, it was originally meant to restore and repair navigational instruments. In 1842 it became a national observatory, and its role as an important Naval institution grew. It was in charge of such diverse tasks as timekeeping for the US Navy and for establishing the length of an Astronomical Unit. Today, the observatory operates a group of atomic clocks and serves as the official residence for the US Vice President.

Condition Description
Quarto. Original green cloth binding, with elaborate gilt design.Some fading and damage to binding. Minor foxing and staining to text. Complete with six maps, fold toning although still Very Good.