Golden Dreams and Waking Realities Being the Adventures of a Gold- Seeker in California and the Pacific Islands
One of the Finest Narratives of the Gold Rush
“This rather uppity Britsher produced one of the finest narratives of the Gold Rush. According to the preface, dated August 2, 1851: “The author’s notes of what he witnessed and encountered in the wanderings (made at the time, but not with a view to publication), afford fresh evidence of the demoralizing effects of the California gold mania.” Unable to find suitable employment in Australia, Shaw sailed to California on board the Mazeppa after hearing news of the modern El Dorado. The Mazeppa was the first ship to leave South Australia for the gold diggings. He arrived in San Francisco in September 1849, sailed to Stockton, joined a company of mixed nationalities and headed for the diggings. Shaw quickly concluded: “Indeed, but for the excitement and the hope of great gain, gold digging might be pronounced the severe stand the most monotonous of all labor.”
He witnessed a bloody battle between mining companies, discrimination against foreign miners, the horrible death of a fellow miner by an insect bite, and poor medical practice. He described in graphic detail the miner’s horrendous living conditions, mining methods, day-to-day struggle for survival. After an adventuresome stay in San Francisco and Sacramento, Shaw left California for Hawaii and Australia aboard the Mazeppa. During his travels he wrote the influx of Gold seekers in the Hawaiian islands”
London: Smith, Elder and Co., 1851 First Edition, Tall twelvemo, 7.60 inches in height by 4.60 in width, 316 pages, contemporary half green calf over marbled boards, gilt and blind stamped spine bands, brown morocco gilt spine label, brown end papers. Paper a bit toned but uniformly so. Housed in a black cloth slipcase. Overall a very good copy.
Wheat: Gold Rush 185, Kurutz 574, Graff3745, Howes S351, Sabin 7991