The MINER'S TEN COMMANDMENTS (By J. M. Hutchings). James Mason Hutchings, 1818 - 1902.


San Francisco [but Oakland]: J. M. Hutchings [by Pacific Press Publishing House], (1887). 1st edition thus (Cowan II, p. 300; Kruska HUTCHINGS, 100). 8 pp. 16mo. 6-1/8" x 4-1/8". Printed cards stock covers, red string tie with tassel. Images to front & rear wrappers, with the rear wrapper image that of Hutching's In The Heart of the Sierras, published, the year prior and to great aclaim, by Oakland's Pacific Press Publishing House. General wear, with spine paper splitting along lower portion. Very Good. Item #46961

"Thou shalt have no other claim than one." "Thou shalt not go prospecting before thy claim gives out." "Thou shalt not steal a pick, or a shovel, or a pan, from thy fellow miner; ..." "Thou shalt not tell any false tales about 'good diggings in the mountains' to thy neighbor ..." "Thou shalt not commit unsuitable matrimony.."

So declares 'The Miner's Ten Commandments.' These divine rules of the California Gold Rush came about in the early 1850s, when keeping the Sabbath became a point of issue in Placerville [and other mining regions]. Such religious observance was favored by James Hutchings, but not so by many other residents. Their lack of spiritual reverence was lampooned, along with many other shady miner practices, by Hutchings in this famous, and subsequently oft-imitated, parody of the Ten Commandants. The work was first published 4 June 1853 in the Placerville Herald, with the first separate publication coming shortly thereafter as a letter sheet.

Here, Hutchings republishes, with minor emendations, his Ten Commandments "at the request of many old friends", using the opportunity to puff his "Heart of the Sierras" on the rear cover. Given this latter aspect, we ascribe the printing of this little booklet to the Oakland Pacific Press house, where the rear advert advises the advertised book is available directly from Hutchings or Pacific Press in Oakland.

While RBH shows a few copies of the 1850s lettersheet coming on the market during the last 2 decades, no copies of this later republishing are noted.

Definitely uncommon in the trade.

Price: $1,500.00

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