FIRST LAWS OF CALIFORNIA. NEVE, FELIPE DE. 1724-1784. Reglamento para el Gobierno de la Provincia de Californias. Aprobado por S.M. en Real Orden de 24. de Octubre de 1781. Mexico: Felipe de Zuniga y Ontiveros, 1784.

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Lot 6
FIRST LAWS OF CALIFORNIA.
NEVE, FELIPE DE. 1724-1784.
Reglamento para el Gobierno de la Provincia de Californias. Aprobado por S.M. en Real Orden de 24. de Octubre de 1781. Mexico: Felipe de Zuniga y Ontiveros, 1784.

Sold for US$ 197,000 inc. premium
FIRST LAWS OF CALIFORNIA.
NEVE, FELIPE DE. 1724-1784. Reglamento para el Gobierno de la Provincia de Californias. Aprobado por S.M. en Real Orden de 24. de Octubre de 1781. Mexico: Felipe de Zuniga y Ontiveros, 1784.
Folio (293 x 204 mm). [2], 37, [1] pp. Woodcut arms on title-page. Signed in type by Felipe de Neve. Disbound, early upper and lower blank endleaves retained. Custom full red morocco folding case. Small, pale stain to margin of last two leaves and endleaves; overall crisp and very fine.

FIRST EDITION, FINE COPY OF THE EXTREMELY RARE FIRST PRINTED LAWS OF UPPER CALIFORNIA, a publication which marks the secular beginning of California. These laws remained in use until the American occupation and portions of the land-holding regulations were still in effect during the first part of the Gold Rush. Only a handful of copies are known and this one in beautiful condition, markedly better than the Streeter copy which is the only other first edition to appear in the auction records.
Felipe de Neve, governor of the Californias, wrote these regulations from Monterey in 1779. They were ordered to be put into effect in October of 1781 and to be printed in March of 1782 for transmittal to the relevant public officials. Neve's task as an administrator was to regulate the Californias more efficiently, especially with regards to potential incursions by the English or French in the north. To this end he had moved his residence from Loreto to Monterey in 1777, establishing the new capital in Alta California. Also, Neve was an Enlightment secularist and he sought to restrict the power of the Franciscans under Fra Junipero Serra. His limits on the missions led to the founding of more presidios and civil settlements, most notably Los Angeles in 1781.
The 15 ordinances in the present document concerned the establishment of civil settlements, improvement of defense, anti-corruption measures, land claims, and the reduction of missionaries. Article 14 in particular treats of the privileges and duties of California settlers, referencing the founding of San José ("San Joseph") and the prospective settlement of Los Angeles (not named) with families from Sonora and Sinaloa. Barrett Baja California 4359; Cowan II, p 526; Howes C60; Medina 7503; Wagner Spanish Southwest 166; Zamorano 80 62.

Footnotes

  • "...y está determinada la ereccion de otro, para el que han de dirigirse Pobladores con sus familias de la Provincia de Sonora y Sinaloa, cuyo progresivo aumento y el de las familias de la Tropa, proporcionará el establecimiento de otras Poblaciones y Reclutas para las Compañias Presidiales..."
Contacts
FIRST LAWS OF CALIFORNIA. NEVE, FELIPE DE. 1724-1784. Reglamento para el Gobierno de la Provincia de Californias. Aprobado por S.M. en Real Orden de 24. de Octubre de 1781. Mexico: Felipe de Zuniga y Ontiveros, 1784.
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