Manuscript on paper, in English. "Description of Upper California."
[Monterey?: ca. 1846]. Folio (31 cm; 12.25").  ff. (2 ff. wrappers, 2 ff. blanks, 10 ff. of text). Written in a clear secretarial hand on wove paper watermarked "Casa de Vall," using sepia ink, now faded but evenly so and still readable. Outer wrappers tattered and bug-stained. Document folded three times as to fit in a a pigeonhole storage box; paper somewhat relaxed and flattening, but still notably wavy. Now in a quarter blue morocco clamshell case. "The Name of Upper California is Given to the Extension of CoastBetween the 32nd and 42nd Degrees of North Latitude . . . "The original manuscript of this 1828 report by José Bandini resides in the National Archive of Mexico and a near contemporary copy rests in the Cowan Collection of the Bancroft Library; both, of course, are in Spanish. Bandini, a native of Andulacia, Spain, who settled in California in about 1818, was a cultured, well-educated, and forward-thinking leader of the Californios, and he seems to have prepared his well-written and detailed essay for the new republican authorities in Mexico City in hopes of convincing them to aid the territory to grow and prosper, to the benefit of the Californios and the Mexican nation as well. He was also the father of Juan Bandini, of whom more later. The cataloguer at the Bancroft Library describes their Spanish-language manuscript copy in these terms: "Draft of report describing Alta California, its government, presidios, missions, Indians, settlements, ports, trade, roads, revenue, flora and fauna, and topography. With recommendations for its future development, notably the opening of the port of San Diego to foreign vessels." The contents are clearly the same in this present translation, which was made probably between 1838 and 1846 from one of a few Spanish-language manuscript copies of the Bandini report that circulated in California in the 1830s and 1840s. Who made the translation is not known, but it is highly likely that it was made for Thomas Larkin (180258), an early-arrived American settler in Alta California (April 1832), a signer of the original California constitution, and the first and only U.S consul to the California Republic. The information in Bandini's report would have been powerful ammunition in Larkin's reports to Washington encouraging American interest in California and its settlement by Anglo-Americans. Despite the importance of the information contained in Bandini's account of California in the period to ca. 1830, it remained unpublished until 1951, when the Friends of the Bancroft Library published a transcription of the Spanish and a translation into English. This present translation remains unpublished still. Curiously, while Hubert Howe Bancroft was able to track down and acquired the manuscript history of California written by José Bandini's son Juan ("Apuntes para la historia de la Alta California desde el ano de su fundacion en 1769 hasta el ano de 1845"), he betrays no knowledge in his own history of California of José's work. Provenance: The Pacific School of Religion (properly released). See: Bandini, José. Description of California in 1828. Tr. by Doris Marion Wright. Berkeley, CA: Friends of the Bancroft Library, 1951.
(Item Id: 107292)