Memoirs of Elisha Oscar Crosby: Reminiscences of California and Guatemala from 1849 to 1864

Memoirs of Elisha Oscar Crosby: Reminiscences of California and Guatemala from 1849 to 1864

Memoirs of Elisha Oscar Crosby: Reminiscences of California and Guatemala from 1849 to 1864

Memoirs of Elisha Oscar Crosby: Reminiscences of California and Guatemala from 1849 to 1864

Excerpt

The manuscript "Memoirs and Reminiscences" of Elisha Oscar Crosby, forty-niner, California lawyer and public figure, and United States diplomat in Central America, are here published for the first time. The original copy has been the property of the Huntington Library for twenty-two years. Comparison with other Crosby manuscripts in and out of the Library suggests to the point of certainty that this is a parent document, a source or literary depository, in which Crosby first put down the reminiscences of forty-five years, and from which he and others have since drawn and redone fragments of California history. Only one of these fragments has found its way to available publication entire, and that, an account of the adoption of the state constitution of 1849, represents but one of the several areas of public interest in Crosby's life. Thus the Reminiscences tell a new story, almost from first to last.

The writer has very little to say directly about himself. From his silences, a reader would never know that he was a family man, responsible not only for his own but also for his dead brother's dependents. Yet he does reveal himself indirectly. He could hardly have lived differently from the way in which he wrote about his life--with zest, with intelligence, with sufficient detachment to appreciate men and events quite foreign to his earlier experience, and with sufficient earnestness to make and to defend large judgments of public morality and policy. He made his observations in important places--in New York, in California during and after the gold rush, and, as minister of the United States commissioned by Lincoln, in Guatemala City.

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