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[GROUP OF SIX AUTOGRAPH LETTERS,...
Sutter, Johann Augustus:
Bookseller: William Reese Company - Americana
New Helvetia, Ca. February 1842 - June 1843 (for the Sutter letters). Accompanying documents dated between 1828 and 1862.. Six manuscript letters,... More
New Helvetia, Ca. February 1842 - June 1843 (for the Sutter letters). Accompanying documents dated between 1828 and 1862.. Six manuscript letters, totaling sixteen pages, written on quarto-sized or larger sheets. Accompanied by twenty-two other manuscript documents or partially printed forms, completed in manuscript. One letter with a 1 x 4- inch chip in the bottom edge, costing approximately eight words, otherwise the letters are in near fine condition, clear and legible. The remainder of the documents with some occasional wear or paper repairs. The entire collection in overall very good condition. A remarkable collection of six manuscript letters written in the early 1840s by California pioneer John A. Sutter, a central figure in the California gold rush. It was at Sutter's mill in Coloma that gold was found in January 1848, sparking the California gold rush and the greatest westward migration in American history. Any letters penned by Sutter from California in the 1840s are rare and quite desirable. These letters are among the earliest known Sutter letters from California, and they provide a great deal of insight and information on Sutter's early career in the Sacramento area, including his financial hardships, business ventures, interactions with emigrants, trappers, and Indians, and his efforts to defend his vast land claims against the encroachments of former associates. All were written from Sutter's Fort at "New Helvetia," and were sent to another important figure in the early history of California, Jean Jacques Vioget, a fellow Swiss immigrant, one of the first residents of San Francisco, and a prominent businessman, trader, and surveyor. Along with the six letters, which are all in Sutter's hand and are written in French (accompanied by English language translations), is a collection of twenty-two additional manuscripts and printed forms detailing Vioget's career. These added documents provide quite a bit of information on the life and activities of this little-known but important figure in the early history of the settlement of San Francisco. "Capt." John A. Sutter was born Johann Augustus Sutter in 1803 in Baden, Germany, of Swiss parents. Early in life he worked in a printing, publishing, and bookselling firm in Basel, before marrying in 1826 and opening his own dry goods and drapery store. He also served in the Berne militia for a time. When his business failed he emigrated to the United States, arriving in New York in 1834, and then travelled to the German colony at St. Louis. He became involved in the Santa Fe trade (making two journeys to the Southwest himself) before setting out for California (via Hawaii and Alaska), where he arrived in 1839. Sutter ingratiated himself with the various political leaders of California, and was granted by the Mexican government an estate of nearly 50,000 acres at the confluence of the Sacramento and American rivers. His land was meant to be an outpost guarding the frontier of Alta California against incursions by Indians and Russian fur traders. Sutter named the region "Nueva Helvetia" (New Switzerland), later commonly called "New Helvetia," and presided over the region as nearly an absolute ruler. Sutter constructed a strong fort, worked the land with the labor of some one thousand Indians, and began cultivating the region, also building a mill, raising cattle, and offering help to immigrants to the region. From the early 1840s, Sutter had to defend his land against fur traders, hostile Indians, and squatters. Often in these letters he complains of the losses he has sustained due to the activities of interlopers such as trader Michel La Framboise, chief of the Hudson's Bay Company, or due to betrayals by his former business associates. Paradoxically, the situation only worsened when Sutter's millwright, James Marshall, discovered gold at Sutter's Mill on Jan. 24, 1848. Soon Sutter's land was overrun by squatters and gold seekers who killed his cattle and used his crops. After California joined the United States in 1850, Sutter served in a variety of state and federal political positions, but he continued to suffer financial setbacks. From 1864 to 1878 he received a monthly $250 stipend from the state, but died destitute in 1880. These six letters provide important information on Sutter's business activities in the early 1840s, his financial dealings and hardships, his relations with Indians, fur traders, and the Russians, and his dealings with merchants in San Francisco, whom he supplied with timber, hides, agricultural products, and other goods, and on whom he also relied for goods and services. The letters also provide insight to Sutter's character and personality, as he often writes in a deeply personal tone. These six letters were translated by students at C.K. McClatchy High School in Sacramento and were published in 1942 in a limited- edition volume called SIX FRENCH LETTERS: CAPTAIN JOHN AUGUSTUS SUTTER TO JEAN JACQUES VIOGET 1842-1843. A photocopy of that volume accompanies these letters, as do alternate English language translations of the letters. The quotes from the letters excerpted below are taken from the text of SIX FRENCH LETTERS.... The years covered by these letters coincide with what have been called "Sutter's years of expansion and material accumulation" (SIX FRENCH LETTERS...). At the time, farming was Sutter's most important enterprise. He hired Jean Jacques Vioget to make a map of his lands in January 1841 (he made another such map in 1843), and Vioget served as a witness to Sutter's purchase of Fort Ross from the Russians in December 1841. Vioget also functioned as a contact and agent for Sutter in San Francisco, helping Sutter buy and sell goods, as well as arranging for transportation of Sutter's products. The first letter in this group from Sutter to Vioget (at "Yerba Buena," later San Francisco) is dated Feb. 18, 1842. Sutter writes to Vioget ("my dear fellow countryman") and informs him of a shipment of timber he is sending to San Francisco and the prices he hopes to get for the lumber: "Right now, I am sending you twenty-nine pieces of oak wood, mostly all big pieces, which are really worth $10. There are three among them which are worth at least $15, but all are $5 if one would also take the others which you still have on the beach. If you could sell them or give me credit at about $5 apiece, it would be fine. If not, please keep them at my disposal; and each trip I will send some others. It is absolutely necessary that the big ones sell as well as the small ones. Without that my efforts would not pay at all. It is a great deal of work because these trees are not so near the river. Sometimes we have to drag them two or three miles to load them at the wharf. In summer I can send you wood from the highlands, such as pine, cedar, etc." Sutter goes on to ask Vioget to help an employee of his, David Chandler, procure some goods in San Francisco that Sutter cannot supply at New Helvetia: "I took the liberty of giving a small order of $30 on you, sir, to Mr. Chandler who has worked here. He would like to have some utensils and other things that I don't have here. You would oblige me very much by procuring them for him, if you please. By the small launch I shall send without fail 15 hides for those $30." The next letter is dated Aug. 28, 1842 and effectively conveys the financial difficulties that Sutter often fell into, and the measures that his creditors in San Francisco would take to collect what they were owed. Sutter begins by complaining to Vioget that his ship, the Sacramento, has been detained in San Francisco harbor by California pioneer William Richardson, who was the first white settler in Yerba Buena, and was at that time captain of the port. Richardson embargoed the ship on behalf of merchants looking to collect from Sutter: "I don't know why this man [Eulogio Celis, the aggrieved merchant] acts so bitterly. I paid him a large bill last spring, and now he surely knows that I can't pay anything until next winter. In three or four weeks the beaver hunting is going to begin. I understand that you will take the place of Mr. Celis; for this reason I take the liberty to apply to you, sir. As a fellow countryman, I dare hope that you are willing to bring to bear all your influence so that such things can no longer happen and that they will give me time, as to any Californian. I shall indeed pay what I owe. Considering briefly my situation since the beginning of my establishment, I do not believe that any reasonable man will take strenuous steps against me, especially since I am ready to pay the interest. Almost everywhere, as you, Mr. Celis, and I know very well, I have been obliged to pay very high prices for merchandise; and for this reason nothing can be lost by waiting a little longer." Sutter goes on to explain to Vioget why he has been tardy in sending Indian laborers to Yerba Buena, and updates his countryman on the situation at his estate: "I pray you not to be angry because I haven't sent you the Indians. I could not because I need them myself; and at present I haven't enough; but with the return of the little ship, I shall send you six men. My work is increasing from day to day, even more since I am building another establishment in the upper part of the Feather River because the animals no longer have enough to eat here." Two months later Sutter writes to Vioget again, asking him to intercede on his behalf again with Mr. Celis, who claims Sutter's accounts are in arrears. The letter of Oct. 16 reads, in part: "In answer to your letter of the seventeenth of last month, I repeat that Mr. Celis' account is not right and he must send you my current books so that you may be convinced. You will see that Mr. Celis has made an error of nearly $600. You know very well that the launch 'Sacramento' is mine on condition that I pay for it. All those provisions of the contract, which you yourself signed as a witness; and it is in the power of the Russians and no others to take possession when they wish. They have written about all this to the government." In a long, fascinating, and very informative letter of Feb. 2, 1843, Sutter gives Vioget details about his finances and his plans to pay his accounts, on the progress and growth of his business enterprise, and on his difficulties with fur traders treading onto his land and using up his resources. He begins by describing his plan to pay his debts: "Yes, sir, I can assure you that everything is going better at present. If the good Lord gives me a good crop this year, I shall have more than enough to pay my debts, except to the Russians; but that is different. As for me, I am neglecting nothing and am doing more than my utmost. I hardly ever sleep at night, and I assure you that the trouble that I had last year has made me ten years older. You would find me completely changed. I am getting all the pelts by myself to pay my debts, and I am sending everyone something on account...I think that when I pay something to everyone, people will see that I am doing my best and will have a little more patience in waiting for the remainder." Sutter complains that he is being hindered in his attempts at fur trapping by incursions onto his lands by hunters from the Hudson's Bay Company, and vents his anger at Michel La Framboise, chief of the company: "If that cursed party of hunters from the Hudson's Bay Company had not come this year against the orders of the government, I would have had a good fur-trapping season. At present, my Indians are bringing me a few beaver pelts, that's all. The first trip was rather good; but now they are selling them secretly to the Canadians, giving four or five good pelts for one red wool scarf or a red handkerchief, etc., and that hurts me a great deal. According to my orders from the government, I have forbidden La Framboise to trap beavers; but in spite of that, he still does as he pleases. If Mr. Alvarado were still governor, I would confiscate their canoes with the traps, and everything they have. Without asking my permission, Mr. La Framboise camped in the middle of my territory between my two farms, for I still have one establishment at the third rancheria on the Feather River. They do whatever they want, since this time there are sixty men; and that is enough to ruin beaver hunting completely. Since they are so strong, they do just as they please and they do not at all respect the orders of the government. I can assure you that my cattle are in great danger since, with these sixty men, there are at least forty women, and a quantity of children and dogs. The whole crowd must eat, and about every three days they kill a deer. There aren't very many more since deer have been killed and eaten in this vicinity for the last ten or twelve years." Despite these troubles Sutter remains optimistic about his business prospects, and he concludes by describing for Vioget the great activity on his lands: "In a few days my new steam distillery will produce a great deal of the spice of life. There is still one pump to finish, then everything is done. That will be a pretty income for me. I also have a mill that grinds ten fanegas of wheat a day. I plan to establish a tannery in the American manner with a mill to grind oak bark. I have a good master tanner; and in a little while I will be able to sell tanned leather, which is a very good article in this country. Along with the cow hides, the hunters are furnishing me with deer and elk hides that I will have tanned in the same way. I also have a hatter who makes woolen hats ordered for the Indians. I have some Indian rope makers who are making shoes for my people. Next summer I will have all the blankets for my Indians manufactured right here because I have nearly 2000 sheep for which I have a very good shepherd from New Mexico. You see, sir, that the expenses of the establishments are beginning to diminish, and I no longer have so much need of outsiders. I won't keep any but the most necessary people, such as the blacksmiths, carpenters, tanners, etc." In a letter of April 12, 1843, Sutter informs Vioget that he is sending him two Indian laborers "who know how to make adobes." He goes on to relate his troubles with neighbors on the other side of the American River: "Those gentlemen on the other side are beginning again to annoy me. I thought I was on good terms with them now, and I assure you that I am tired of living this way in this cursed country! Captain Walter is talking terribly harshly against me - that gentleman would do better to control himself a little." Sutter signs off with an optimistic forecast for his farm returns: "The wheat, peas, and potatoes are all fine and promise a good crop." In the final letter in the group of six, dated June 14, 1843, Sutter writes Vioget of a scheme by Charles W. Flugge, who had been Sutter's friend and served as his legal adviser, business manager, and representative, to steal land from Sutter: "And now, sir, just imagine a man whom I never would have thought capable of it, a man who possessed my confidence, whom I thought my friend, and who is more or less under obligation to me, permitting himself to dispute my right to my best land, where there are already two establishments. This man is Mr. Flugge who wishes to have these lands for himself, and he even claims that my boundary line passes from the mouth of the Feather River through the middle of that bad strip of land through which we passed while going to the top of the Buttes! Again the impudence of that man! We already had disagreements last winter. After he could no longer agree with Mr. Cordua, I was once more foolish enough to employ him again. I was even at the point of sending him tomorrow to the town of Los Angeles to see the governor on my business. Perhaps he is going anyway to act against me. By chance I discovered his plans. I am sure that he has written to you concerning these affairs. For that reason I beg you to aid and assist me against a rare schemer...I believe the whole plan is that Flugge or Cordua, or Flugge alone, I don't know which, wish through intrigue to try to come into the possession of these lands in order to make large speculations." Sutter goes on to ask Vioget to make him another map of his lands, which he could then use in his claims against Flugge. Sutter encapsulates his difficulties as the pioneering landowner in the region, and his feeling of being taken advantage of by his former associates, when he writes: "Isn't it too bad that after having sacrificed everything, after having enormous expenses, and risking my life, etc., to become established here; in a word, pulling chestnuts out of the fire, others want to come and eat them." The recipient of these six letters from Sutter, Jean Jacques Vioget, is a fascinating figure and important in the early history of California. Vioget (1799-1855) was born in Switzerland, joined Napoleon's army at the age of fifteen, and then trained as an engineer. In the 1820s he served in the Brazilian navy, rising to the rank of captain, and engaging in the maritime trade in South America. He first arrived in San Francisco, then known as Yerba Buena, in 1837, when only two homes stood in the village - those of Jacob Leese and William Richardson. It was at this time that Vioget made a watercolor of the Bay, which hung in the cabin of his ship for the next two years. He returned to Yerba Buena in 1839 and rented the home of William Leese. The alcalde of the small town, Francisco de Haro, hearing that Vioget was a trained engineer, hired him to produce the first survey of the village. Vioget's plan covers the area that is now San Francisco's Financial District and featured a grid made of trapezoidal blocks. In January 1840, Vioget received a grant of land and built a hotel, Vioget House, which also had a saloon and billiard parlor. Vioget became a leading saloon-keeper and merchant in the city, and also continued to offer his services as a surveyor. It was at this time that Vioget first went to work for Sutter, surveying his Sacramento-area land grants in 1841 and 1843. Vioget spent his last years in San Jose, where he is buried. Included in the group of twenty-two documents regarding Vioget are manuscript letters and printed forms completed in manuscript, documenting his career from the 1820s to the 1850s. The earliest item is a printed Swiss "Certificate of Origin," completed in manuscript, stating that in 1828, Vioget was twenty-nine years old and the son of Jean Pierre Vioget. Another printed form, completed in manuscript, is Vioget's Brazilian passport, dated 1829, and contains several signatures, ink customs stamps, and accompanying notes. There are also two of Vioget's Swiss passports, dated 1831 and 1833, both signed by Vioget and executed at the Swiss consulate at Toscane. Several other manuscript letters and documents from the 1830s, some of them signed by Vioget, give instructions to Vioget regarding his service in the Brazilian navy, while other documents relate to maritime affairs involving Ecuador and Peru. A two-page manuscript letter, dated Oct. 1, 1843, from Padre Muro of San Jose, relates the Padre's sending mission Indians to Yerba Buena for fifteen days to help build Vioget's house, and also sends instructions on how Vioget should pay for their labor. A six- page manuscript letter to Vioget is dated June 20, 1844 and gives him extensive instructions regarding the bark, Clarita, and its voyage to Mazatlan. A letter dated Aug. 20, 1860 is written on a blank sheet attached to a printed description of the "French College" at the corner of Jackson and Mason streets in San Francisco. The letter is written by a Mr. Mibielle, the head of the school, to Vioget's widow, Maria. The printed document gives an interesting description of the school's plan of study. Finally, there are three manuscript pages describing the business accounts of Maria Vioget from 1858 to 1862. A great collection of Sutter letters, telling us much about the business, struggles, and character of a crucially important figure in California history, wonderfully supplemented by an archive of material illuminating the life history of another California pioneer, Jean Jacques Vioget. SIX FRENCH LETTERS: CAPTAIN JOHN AUGUSTUS SUTTER TO JEAN JACQUES VIOGET 1842-1843 (Sacramento: The Nugget Press, 1942). Sutter: ANB 21, pp.169-70. DAB XVIII, pp.224-25. Vioget: Hart, COMPANION TO CALIFORNIA. Less
Price: 142500.00 USD
[MANUSCRIPT LETTER, SIGNED BY JOHN...
Jones, John Paul:
Bookseller: William Reese Company - Americana
On Board the Bonhomme Richard at L'Orient, France. June 14, 1779.. p. manuscript letter on a folded folio sheet. Docketed on the fourth page and... More
On Board the Bonhomme Richard at L'Orient, France. June 14, 1779.. p. manuscript letter on a folded folio sheet. Docketed on the fourth page and addressed in Jones's hand to "Captain M[atthew] Parke of the Marine troops." Sheet strengthened around the edges, closed tear mended in the second sheet. Very good. In a half morocco and cloth folding box, spine gilt. A very interesting manuscript letter, signed by Captain John Paul Jones as commander the American squadron off the coast of Europe, ordering Matthew Parke, a member of the Marine troops, to attend a court martial on board his ship, the Bonhomme Richard. Jones would gain everlasting fame and glory just a few weeks after he signed this letter, when he captured the HMS Serapis in the North Sea. In 1779 John Paul Jones took command of a 900-ton French East Indiaman, armed and renamed Bonhomme Richard as a compliment to his patron, Benjamin Franklin. The outfitting of the ship in the port of L'Orient consumed several months, and it was not ready for sea until June. The ship's crew was originally formed of prisoners taken from English ships by the French. Evidently, a group of these prisoner-sailors conspired to capture the ship, and Jones ordered their court martial to take place on June 15 on board the Bonhomme Richard. The manuscript text, signed by Jones in his own hand at the end, reads: "By the Honble. John P. Jones Captain in the American Navy and Commander in Chief of the American Squadron now in Europe. Sir you are hereby required and directed to attend at a Court Martial to be held on board the Bon homme [sic] Richard tomorrow for the Trial of James Enion, John Atwood, John Lomney, John Balch, John Layton, Andrew Thompson, George Johnston, William Carmichael, Alexander Cooper, William Hanover, Thomas Cole and Nathaniel Bonner - all of whom have been put under confinement by Lieutenant John Brown for mutinous behaviour and for refusing to do their duty on board the American ship of war the Bon homme Richard. You are also to try any other person or persons belonging to the American service who may in the course of the evidence appear to have been principally concerned in that mutiny - for which this shall be your order. Given on board the Bon homme Richard at L'Orient the 14th day of June 1779." Along with the letter, laid into a compartment in the box, is a commemorative medal, 2 1/4 x 3 1/4 inches, with a portrait on the recto of Jones after the bust by Houdon, and an allegorical scene on the verso entitled "America claims her illustrious dead - Paris Annapolis 1905." The medal was issued to commemorate the exhumation and re- burial of Jones's body from beneath the streets of Paris to its final resting place in Annapolis, Maryland, in 1905. Any substantive, Revolutionary-era John Paul Jones letters or manuscripts are extremely rare in the market. This is an especially interesting and displayable artifact of Jones' tenure as commander of the Bonhomme Richard, with several references to the ship, where he earned his greatest fame during the Revolution. Less
Price: 75000.00 USD
Atlante novissimo illustrato ed...
Bookseller: B & L Rootenberg Rare Books & Manuscripts
With elaborate double-page engraved frontispiece, hand painted floral paste-downs, hand-painted maps. Calf with blue edges and gilded spine and... More
With elaborate double-page engraved frontispiece, hand painted floral paste-downs, hand-painted maps. Calf with blue edges and gilded spine and borders on covers. First edition of Zatta’s masterpiece of the eighteenth century, the most important world atlas of the period. All maps are hand-coloured, with each title in a decorative cartouche surrounded by the architecture, animals, and landscape one was thought to encounter in that particular environment. All known areas of the world are documented, along with celestial maps, diagrams of the universe, ancient empires, and a plethora of maps concentrated on the countries and provinces of Europe. Also included is Zatta’s celebrated version of “Le Colonie Unite delle America Settentrie” based on Mitchell’s map of America (1775). Many of the maps in this section were engraved during the Revolution, and include vignettes which reference military and naval engagements, along with other political and economic information. Another particularly important map is “La Nuova Zelanda,” which was one of the first published versions of Cook’s chart of New Zealand. Zatta (1757-1797) was the most prominent Italian map publisher of the late eighteenth century. Based in Venice, his maps marked a transition from eighteenth to nineteenth century cartographic styles. He updated and redefined the traditional title cartouche by replacing the mythic elements common to the earlier styles with more representative images. His maps contain magnificent details while striving for accuracy. In addition, Zatta’s published works were renown for their high artistic qualities and modern colours, especially the fresh tones of his pinks, greens and yellows. This atlas is considered his magnum opus, though he also produced a number of Italian classics. It is extremely rare to find this atlas complete. Bossi (1788-1870) was a friend and defender of Italian revolutionaries, including Federico Confalonieri (1785-1846). He took refuge in Switzerland after his exile from Milan following the 1821 Piedmont revolt against the Austrians. Less
Price: 90000.00 USD