A Good-Natured Hint About California

I have written twice before about the California Gold Rush as seen in comic books of the time, here and here. Here’s another one by an English artist: A Goodnatured Hint about California.

The motto on the cover says: “Here we are on Tom Titler’s ground picking up gold and silver,” a line from a children’s game. You might also notice that you could buy the book for one shilling plain, or two shillings and sixpence colored. Hand-coloring illustrations was a home industry for many struggling families and individuals.

Alfred Crowquill was the pseudonym of British cartoonist Alfred Henry Forrester. In 1849 he capitalized on the gold mania by illustrating and publishing this little comic book. It tells the story of “Mivins,” a London clerk. “He reads of California! He dreams of California!” (and a rain of gold coins) and then leaves his mother and takes ship for the promised land.

Mivins has to carry his own luggage and cook his own food. He eats roast squirrel (I hope that’s a squirrel and not a rat). He sleeps in a barrel.

He meets an old-timer (“a highly respectable men” with a bandanna on his head), finally arrives at the diggin’s, but fails to find gold (because he is using a sieve for a gold pan).

You can read the entire little book at the Internet Archive or at the California State Library. The illustrations above are from the Internet Archive.

About nancyleek

Nancy is a retired librarian who lives in Chico, California. She is the author of John Bidwell: The Adventurous Life of a California Pioneer.
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