Eldorado: Adventures in the Path of Empire

Overview

A journalist?s eyewitness account of the explosive 1849 California gold rush and his travels through Mexico.

In 1849, a young, wide-eyed reporter from New York ventured West not to seek riches, but to report on the madness and exuberance of the California gold rush. Sent by Horace Greeley, a highly respected New-York Tribune editor, twenty-four-year-old Bayard Taylor traveled through Panama to reach his final destination, San Francisco, which ...

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ELDORADO: Adventures in the path of empire

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Overview

A journalist’s eyewitness account of the explosive 1849 California gold rush and his travels through Mexico.

In 1849, a young, wide-eyed reporter from New York ventured West not to seek riches, but to report on the madness and exuberance of the California gold rush. Sent by Horace Greeley, a highly respected New-York Tribune editor, twenty-four-year-old Bayard Taylor traveled through Panama to reach his final destination, San Francisco, which he described as an “amphitheatre of fire” in the night, gleaming with the promise of gold and progress.

In his enthralling and robust narrative, Bayard brings the reader into the wild, lush world of early California, reporting on the nearly overnight growth of townships and infrastructure after the gold rush. During his adventures, Bayard walked one hundred miles from San Francisco to Monterey, and later returned to New York via Mexico by foot, mule, and coach. Bayard describes the characters he met with an honest curiosity—heady gold miners who had once been doctors and lawyers, hospitable Mexicans from all classes of society, and even a highway robber who made off with his books.

Eldorado, which borrows its title from the South American–Spanish legend of a hidden land of gold, is a magnificent tale about the birth of California from a deserted land to a modern city sprawl. At once an account of history and of one man’s thrilling adventures, Eldorado transports the reader to the beginning of an era, with all its gold, glitz, and glamour.

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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
Reprints a firsthand account of the California Gold Rush written by a young journalist from the who traveled throughout the region during the rush, and recorded the birth of modern California. Much of the account addresses the explosive growth of San Francisco from quiet village to booming city. Includes reproductions of period drawings of California before, during and after the invasion of the '49ers. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781629147147
  • Publisher: Skyhorse Publishing
  • Publication date: 1/6/2015
  • Pages: 512

Meet the Author

Bayard Taylor was born in 1825 in Pennsylvania. A relentless writer, he began reading at age four and writing poems at seven. After an apprenticeship with a printer, Taylor approached Horace Greeley of the New-York Tribune and proposed that the newspaper finance his trip to Europe in return for travel letters, which he would later publish as Views A-Foot (1846). After the publication of Eldorado in 1850, Taylor continued to travel the world, becoming secretary of the US delegation in Russia. A few months after being appointed American Minister to Germany, he died at the age of 53 in Berlin, Germany.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix
Foreword xi
Author's Preface 1
1. From New York to Chagres 3
2. Crossing the Isthmus 11
3. Scenes in Panama 23
4. The Pacific Coast of Mexico 27
5. The Coast of California 35
6. First Impressions of San Francisco 44
7. To the San Joaquin, on Muleback 52
8. Camp-life, and a Ride to the Diggings 63
9. The Diggings on Mokelumne River 69
10. A Gallop to Stockton, with Some Words on Law and Society 77
11. A Night Adventure in the Mountains 85
12. San Francisco by Day and Night 92
13. Incidents of a Walk to Monterey 99
14. Life in Monterey 110
15. The State Organization of California 118
16. The Closing Scenes of the Convention 129
17. Shore and Forest 137
18. Old California--Its Missions and Its Lands 145
19. Return to San Francisco 156
20. San Francisco Again 164
21. Sacramento River and City 172
22. Traveling on the Plains 183
23. Journey to the Volcano 192
24. Election Scenes and Mining Characters 202
25. The Rainy Season 209
26. Night in Sacramento City 218
27. The Overland Emigration of 1849 225
28. The Italy of the West 233
29. San Francisco Four Months Later 240
30. Society in California 247
31. Leaving San Francisco 251
32. Mazatlan 260
33. Travel in the Tierra Caliente 266
34. The Ascent to the Tableland 279
35. The Robber Region 288
36. Three Days in Guadalajara 297
37. In the Diligence to Guanajuato 305
38. The Dividing Ridge 312
39. Scenes in the Mexican Capital 316
40. Mexican Politics and Political Men 323
41. Rides to Chapultepec and Guadalupe 330
42. The Base of Popocatepel 336
43. Glimpses of Purgatory and Paradise 342
44. Vera Cruz and San Juan d'Ulloa 350
Appendix Report of Honorable T. Butler King 353
Afterword 399
Notes on the Annotations 407
Author Biography 411
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