BLTC Press Titles

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Shakti and Shakta

John Woodroffe

Theory of Colours

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Letters on the Aesthetical Education of Man

Friedrich Schiller

The Count of Monte Cristo

Alexandre Dumas

A history of California

by Charles Edward Chapman



This is the third volume of the writer which is the direct result of his enjoyment during two years of a Native Sons of the Golden West Traveling Fellowship, which enabled him to make researches in Spain. The writer's first thought, therefore, in publishing this volume is to express his gratitude to the patriotic Californian order which has made it possible.

The other two works by the writer on the history of California were directed primarily to the history profession; one {The Founding of Spanish California) was an intensively documented monograph, and the other (Catalogue of Materials in the Archiva General de Indias) a technical manuscript guide. These two he is endeavoring in the present work to bring to their logical conclusion—the ultimate aim, indeed, of all historical scholarship—by publishing what he hopes may be accepted as an authoritative popular history. Since it is intended for the general public, this volume omits much of the professional paraphernalia, and does not hesitate to give space to interesting incident. As to its authoritativeness it is at any rate the product of thirteen years' investigation of Spanish Californian history, involving the use of thousands of hitherto unknown manuscripts, as well as important printed materials not previously digested or assimilated.

Two outstanding reasons exist for the publication of this volume. In the first place, it presents a vast amount of new material, some portions of which have never before appeared in print, while others were not known, or not utilized, by the general historians of the state. Secondly, an attempt is made to place the history of California in its proper perspective in relation to that of North America as a whole. Previous works have given a purely local narrative. This volume aims to show that California history is important as well as interesting,—that the great Anza expedition of 1775-1776 and the Yuma massacre of 1781 demand inclusion in any comprehensive history of the United States,— that California, while it has indeed a romantic history to tell, has also a great deal more than that to contribute to the cherished traditions of the American people.

The writer first planned this volume seven years ago, in conjunction with Doctor Robert G. Cleland, whose point of view with respect to the American period of California history is precisely analagous to that expressed above about the era of Spanish rule. Since 1914 Doctor Cleland and the writer have been in constant communication, but otherwise working independently, with a view to producing, between them, an authoritative popular history of California. Where the two works overlap, in the first half of the nineteenth century, certain portions have been left for detailed treatment by Doctor Cleland, while others are taken up here. This it is possible to do, without a rough break in the narrative, since the aim here for that period is merely to finish the local annals of Spanish California, carried through to the end of Mexican rule. Doctor Cleland, on the other hand, tells the story of those events which pushed irresistibly toward the ultimate acquisition of California by the United States. Doctor Cleland's volume is about to go to press, as this work comes from the publisher.

Bancroft's works and the writer's own monograph, The Founding of Spanish California, have been drawn upon freely, and in less degree so also the great general histories of Hittell and Eldredge. Since these, or some of them, have been used in most of the chapters, it has seemed unnecessary to cite them. Other strikingly important items are mentioned at the end of each chapter.

The following chapters have previously been published in substantially the same form: I, V, VI, VII, IX, in the Grizzly bear magazine; IV, VIII, in Sunset; X, XI, and the Appendix, in the Southwestern historical quarterly; and XIV, XXIX, in the Catholic historical review. Due thanks are here given for permission to use them in the present work.

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