Mannheim: Churfurstl. Hof-und Academie-Buchdruckerey, 1772. ,358,pp. plus two engraved plates (on one sheet) and folding map. Small octavo. Modern half vellum and marbled boards, spine gilt. A bit of light age toning, an occasional light fox mark. Three small purple ink spots in lower portion of map. Near fine. Item #WRCAM46993
First printing of this rare and important account of Lower California by the German Jesuit, Jacob Baegert. Baegert lived in Baja California for seventeen years (1751-68) and spent most of his time at the Mission of San Luis Gonzaga, leaving after the expulsion of the Jesuits in 1767. He provides some important details on the culture of the Indians of Baja California, including the Pericues, Guiacuras, and Cochiemes. Part one is an overview of California, its climate and products; part two describes the inhabitants; and the third part contains an account of the introduction of Christianity to California. Wagner states that the German Jesuits were especially dissatisfied toward the end of the Jesuit regime in California, and Baegert's bitterness is evident in his book: "...it was a land full of ferocious beasts and even more ferocious Indians, the soil was poor, the water undrinkable and there was no fuel to be had."
The fine and important map was made by fellow Jesuit Ferdinand Consak and is described by Streeter as "most helpful in giving the location of the many Jesuit missions in Lower California. It also shows the route along the west coast of Mexico followed by Baegert in going to California in 1751 and his route out in 1768, after the expulsion of the Jesuits." The top right corner of the territory (present-day Arizona) is labeled, rather ominously, "Los Apaches Barbari." The excellent plates, which were apparently not issued with all copies, depict male and female California Indians.
A prime early account of Baja California, with an important map and plates of the region. HOWES B29, "b." HILL 46. COWAN, p.27. SABIN 4363. BELL B5.?? STREETER SALE 2442. BARRETT 129. WAGNER SPANISH SOUTHWEST 157. WAGNER, NORTHWEST COAST, pp.154-155 & item 631. MEADOWS, BAJA CALIFORNIA 1. GRAFF 137. PILLING PROOF SHEETS 203. PALAU 358393.