Catalog Archive
Auction 182, Lot 784

First Extensive Account of California Published in the United States by an American Visitor

"[California] Journal of a Voyage Between China and the North-Western Coast Of America, Made In 1804 [in] The American Register: or General Repository of History, Politics, and Science Part I For 1808. Vol. III",

Subject: Document - California

Period: 1808 (published)


Color: Black & White

5.6 x 9.3 inches
14.2 x 23.6 cm
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This volume of The American Register contains William Shaler's 38-page account in California. It is frequently cited as the first extensive account of California published in the United States by an American. Shaler put into Spanish ports along the California coast, although visitors were prohibited by the Spanish, and illegally traded in otter skins. He apparently had to shoot his way out of California but was convinced that it should become part of America: “The conquest of this country would be absolutely nothing; it would fall without an effort to the most inconsiderable force” (p. 161). This early Manifest Destiny sentiment became a reality several decades later. His travels also brought him to Hawaii, also described here. He eventually became a respected U.S. diplomat. 583 total pages in the complete volume. Hardbound in original quarter leather over marbled boards with gilt title on spine. Published by C. & A. Conrad & Company in Philadelphia.

References: Howes #S-324.

Condition: B

Untrimmed text has light toning and scattered foxing. Ex-library with the usual markings, none of which are on the title page or any part of Shaler's report. Covers are worn and the hinges are cracking, but the binding is still intact.

Estimate: $500 - $700

Sold for: $1,400

Closed on 4/28/2021