While widely recognized as the first official report on the Gold Rush, Thomas Butler King’s mission was more complex. A Georgian Congressman, he was dispatched by President Taylor with a “semi-secret” message of encouragement for California to forego territorial status and instead seek statehood directly. Taylor wanted to avoid the dissension within the Congress on the issue of slavery within California as a territory and instead allow Californians to make their choice in its Constitution, the prelude to statehood. In the report King vehemently denies that he was attempting to influence the decision on slavery one way or the other (Californians chose to be a free state). King’s report describes the soil, climate and products of California and describes in detail the gold rush and its impact on the people and the local economy. He became the Collector of Customs for San Francisco and failed in several attempts to win elective office in California. According to Howes, this is the second and best edition. 72 pages. Original wrappers.
References: Howes #K-153.
Text is mostly clean with a faint damp stain in the last 10 pages and some pencil notations on page 14. The top 1" has been trimmed from the front wrapper and there is a small chip on the rear wrapper.