(navigation image)
Home American Libraries | Canadian Libraries | Universal Library | Community Texts | Project Gutenberg | Children's Library | Biodiversity Heritage Library | Additional Collections
Search: Advanced Search
Anonymous User (login or join us)
Upload
See other formats

Full text of "The expeditions of John Charles Frémont : map portfolio"

THE EXPEDITIONS OF 

John Charles 
Fremont 



MAP PORTFOLIO 



COMMENTARY BY 
DONALD JACKSON 



UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS PRESS 
URBANA, CHICAGO, AND LONDON 



THE EXPEDITIONS OF 

John Charles 
Fremont 



MAP PORTFOLIO 



COMMENTARY BY 
DONALD JACKSON 



UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS PRESS 
URBANA, CHICAGO, AND LONDON 



(Q) 1970 by the Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois. 

Manufactured in the United States of America. 

Library of Congress Catalog Card No. 73-100374. 



CONTEXTS 



Maps of the John Charles Fremont Expeditions 5 

Map T : "Hvdrographical Basin of the Upper Mississippi River 
From Astronomical and Barometrical Observations Surveys 
and Information by J. N. Nicollet in the Years 1836, 37, 38, 
39, and 40; assisted in 1838, 39 & 40, by Lieut. J. C. Fremont, 
of the Corps of Topographical Engineers. ..." 7 

Map 2: "Map to Illustrate an Exploration of the Countrv. lying 
between the Missouri River and the Rocky Mountains, on 
the line of the Nebraska or Platte River. Bv Lieut. J. C. 
Fremont, of the Corps of Topographical Engineers." 10 

Map 3: "Map of an Exploring Expedition to the Rocky Moun- 
tains in the Year 1842 and to Oregon & North California in 
the Years 1843-44 by Brevet Capt. J. C. Fremont of the 
Corps of Topographical Engineers. . . ." 11 

Map 4 (in seven sections) : "Topographical Map of the Road 
from Missouri to Oregon commencing at the mouth of the 
Kansas in the Missouri River and ending at the mouth of 
the Wallah Wallah in the Columbia. . . . From the field 
notes and journal of Capt. J. C. Fremont, and from sketches 
and notes made on the ground bv his assistant Charles 
Preuss." 14 

Map 5: "Map of Oregon and Upper California From the Surveys 
of John Charles Fremont And other Authorities drawn by 
Charles Preuss Under the Order of the Senate of the United 
States Washington City 1848." 15 



MAPS OF THE 

JOHN CHARLES FREMONT 

EXPEDITIONS 



With the permission of my co-editor, I write these comments in 
the first person singular. I wish to be responsible for the nature 
of the remarks as well as their content, for most of the geo- 
graphic-cartographic observations in Vol. 1 of the Expeditions 
are mine. The expertise of my collaborator, Dr. Mary Lee Spence, 
is evident everywhere in the work, but co-editors must of neces- 
sity divide their labors. 

An everlasting debate among practitioners of our craft revolves 
around the question: how far should a general editor of an ex- 
tensive work go into specialized aspects of the materials he is 
preparing? Naturally, the first duty of an editor is to search out, 
and present in as nearly their original form as possible, the 
documents concerning his subject. When he has done this to the 
fullest practicable extent (meaning that he must stop collecting 
sometime, knowing that he is sure to miss a few documents 
anyway), then he is free to explicate. 

But the editor who attempts to exhaust his subject through an- 
notation is not only doomed to failure — he has missed the whole 
point of his calling. An editor's work is meant to be pillaged. 

Our notes in the Expeditions contain a good deal of detail 
about Fremont's routes, his geographic observations, and his 
maps. But the history of cartography is a highly specialized sub- 
division of the history of exploration. I may claim some years of 
study and publication in the field of western American history, 
but in the cartographic field I claim no knowledge comparable to 
that of men like the late Carl I. Wheat, or Dale L. Morgan at 
the Bancroft Library in Berkeley, Calif., or Herman R. Friis at 
the National Archives in Washington. 

The cartographic expert mav specialize on a grand scale, like 
Wheat, whose Mapping the Transmississippi West requires five 



volumes. Or he may find satisfaction in a geographic microcosm, 
like Fred I. Green, of Reno, Nev., who spent years of informed 
speculation about the point at which Fremont's party crossed the 
Sierras in 1844. Green went so far as to collate Fremont's sparse 
remarks about geological formations with his own observations 
on the geology of the region. Yet his speculations, never pub- 
lished except in our inadequate summary in Vol. 1, are at 
variance with the findings of Vincent P. Gianella, who also 
knows the area at first hand. 

Then I appeared on the scene in 1968, equipped with a station 
wagon, sleeping bag, and many pounds of U.S. Geological 
Survey maps. That I was at a disadvantage over local men such 
as Green and Gianella became immediately apparent. I had fol- 
lowed Fremont from Kansas City, Mo., to the mouth of the 
Walla Walla, on clown to the Dalles of the Columbia, and south 
through parts of Oregon and Nevada. Now I was ready to 
track the expedition over the Sierras into California. I pondered, 
I climbed, I rustled those maps, and I backtracked to Carson City 
to talk to James W. Calhoun, director of the Nevada State 
Museum. Months later, however, when I wrote my footnotes for 
that portion of Fremont's journal, I found myself relying heavily 
upon the published work of Gianella and the notes given me by 
Fred I. Green. 

Yet, I wrote my notes with immensely greater confidence, 
having been there. I would not choose to be an armchair editor of 
travel narratives. 

This commentary is designed to introduce, not to analyze in 
depth, the printed maps associated with Fremont. The letters 
and documents in Vol. 1 of the Expeditions should be consulted 
for an understanding of how these maps were conceived and 
made; and for deeper analysis, other studies are recommended. 1 

The maps in this collection are relevant to all of the expedi- 



1 The most comprehensive survey ot western American cartography 
is still Carl 1. Wheat, Mapping the Transmississippi West, 5 vols. 
(San Francisco, 1957-63). Cartography also figures heavily in Wil- 
liam H. Goetzmann, Army Exploration in the American West, 1803- 
63 (New Haven, Conn., 1959). A packet of maps inside the hack 
cover, and many smaller ones within the text, are most useful. See 
also Carl I. Wheat and Dale L. Morgan, Jedediah Smith and His 
Maps of the American West (San Francisco, 1954). One of Herman 



tions, even though thev are issued together as a supplement to 
Vol. 1. For example, the 184S map which appears here was pub- 
lished with Fremont's Geographical Memoir, a document which 
may not appear in our series until Vol. 3. Anyone who has tried 
to use a verv large map which is hound inside a book, without 
eventually tearing it, should appreciate our publisher's decision to 
issue these maps in a separate form. 

As only printed maps are included, several manuscript maps 
can be consulted onlv at the National Archives. Among; these 
are manuscript versions of the Nicollet map, a map of the Des 
Moines River as high as the Raccoon Fork which Fremont made 
during a special reconnaissance, and the manuscript of the 
enormously important map of 1845 (our Map 3). 2 

Map 1 

Joseph Nicolas Nicollet was Fremont's mentor and intellectual 
superior, and his map — a veritable landmark in cartography — 
must always be known as a "Nicollet map." But my helpful 
friend and consultant. Dale L. Morgan, easily convinced me that 
it ought to be included here because there is so much of Fremont 
in it. This was the work which trained Fremont in cartography, 
and the fact that he labored long and hard is easily shown by 
the documents in the early portion of Vol. 1. Besides his work 
in the field during the Nicollet expeditions of 1838 and 1839, 
Fremont assisted the ailing scientist (who died before he could 
finish his studies) in the laborious task of refining their sketches 
and calculations after thev had returned to Washington. 

"Fremont, who is verv thin and who has never left me for an 
hour, asks me to give you his respects, as well as your charming 
family. We have not had a day of rest since we are here. I am so 

R. Friis' many contributions to the field is "The Image of the 
American West at Mid-Century (1840-60)," in The Frontier Re- 
examined, ed. by John Francis McDermott (Urbana, 111.. 1967), pp. 
49-63. 

2 All these maps are in Record Croup 77. See, for example, U.S. 
Maps 41 and 131 for Nicollet, and Map Q 7-1 for the Des Moines 
River map entitled "A Survey of the Des Moines River from the 
Racoon Fork to the Mouth Made in July 1S41 by Lieut. I. C. Fre- 
mont, Corps. Topi. Engineers." 



anxious to finish it [the map], to go and recover my health with 
my friends in St. Louis" (Nicollet to Jules de Mun, Washington, 
D.C., 1 Dec. 1840, Missouri Historical Society). 

I have often wondered why Wheat did not consider Nicollet's 
work to be "Transmississippi" in nature, and include it in Vol. 1 
of his sweeping study of western cartography. It clearly extended 
our knowledge of the Missouri River region between St. Louis 
and Fort Pierre, and of the region between Devils Lake and the 
headwaters of the Mississippi. 

A set of manuscript charts which shows how the two men 
cooperated in their field observations is too extensive to be pre- 
sented here, consisting of sixty-seven folio sheets tracing their 
day-to-day progress up the Missouri in 1839. Some of the earliest 
sheets are missing, and the charts begin just below the Auxvasse, 
in Missouri, on 7 April, extending to Fort Pierre (now Pierre, 
S.D.), 12 June 1839. The final three sheets show the overland 
route of the party from Pierre to Devils Lake. Folios 386-87 
show the area traversed in late April and early May, including 
the highly important complex of trading houses and missionary 
establishments in the present Omaha area. 

These charts, bearing many notations in the hand of Fremont 
as well as Nicollet (some in French), are the earliest large-scale 
charts of the Missouri that I have seen. The original manuscripts 
comprise Part 2, Vol. 2, of the Nicollet Papers, Library of Con- 
gress. 

The Nicollet map was issued in a rather small edition in 1842, 
without the accompanying report, and at a scale of 1/600,000. 
The report and map were published the following year by the 
Senate — the map redrawn to a scale of 1/1,200,000 — and again 
published by the House in 1845. Copies of the 1842 map seem to 
be rather scarce today. I found one in the National Archives, two 
in the Library of Congress, but did not attempt a full census. 3 

For the 1843 edition which was to accompany the report, the 
map was done over completely. The format was enlarged to a 
point where Nicollet complained that detail was lost, the letter- 
ing was redone, and many place-names were added. For exam- 
ple, on the 1842 version there are no towns within the interior of 



3 The Minnesota Historical Society, St. Paul, has issued a reprint 
of the 1843 Nicollet map from the original plates. 

8 



Illinois, but the 1843 version (our Map 1) shows several of the 
more important settlements. 

Most of the river courses are the same on the two maps, but 
one notable exception is the Platte. This difference may have 
resulted from Fremont's surveys on his 1S42 expedition, which 
produced a more accurate course of the Platte than any previous 
map, and which he could easilv have added to the 1843 edition 
upon his return. At that time, he and Nicollet were still engaged in 
what the government considered the same project, the mapping of 
the Mississippi Valley and certain territories lying to the west. 

The toponymy of the map suggests that Nicollet and Fremont, 
like most explorers including Lewis and Clark, had little success 
assigning place-names which would hold up from generation to 
generation. One exception is the little lake on a western tributary 
of the Shayenn-Oju River, now the Sheyenne, below the Devils 
Lake area, where the map shows "Lake Jessie." There is still a 
remnant of a lake there today, near the small town of Jessie in 
Griggs County, N.D. Young John Charles thus honored Jessie 
Benton, whom he would marry in 1841. 

Fremont's fame had already begun to spread before the appear- 
ance of the final Nicollet map, because publication of his own re- 
port of the 1842 expedition to the Wind River Mountains preceded 
Nicollet's report and map. Asbury Dickins, secretary to the Senate, 
was enclosing a copy of Fremont's work to Samuel Breese as early 
as 6 June 1843, while advising that the large Nicollet map had not 
yet been printed. Dickins forwarded, instead, a copy of the smaller 
1842 map. Dickins was still waiting— and chafing— for the large 
map when he wrote to J. J. Abert on 12 July 1843, saying that 
expensive corrections were still being made and that there were 
to be 300 copies of the large map printed for Congress (see 
Record Group 46, Letterbook 3, National Archives, for both doc- 
uments). Larger editions for public consumption followed later. 

Publication of the Nicollet map came near the end of this 
notable scientist's career, and it helped to launch the career of 
his protege. Fremont was now qualified to strike out upon his 
own as an explorer and surveyor, aided in part by the reputation 
he had earned under Nicollet's tutelage, but even more by the 
happy fact that he had married the daughter of the West's most 
powerful and outspoken senator, Thomas Hart Benton. The 
American public would soon be reading of Fremont's first truly 



"western" exploration and avidly studying the map which is next 
on our list. 



Map 2 

Just as we might have omitted Map 1 because it is nominally 
Nicollet's, we might have passed over this one because the data 
later appear on the larger map which Fremont published in 1845 
(our Map 3), after his expedition to California. But this map has 
an importance all its own and deserves reproduction as a land- 
mark in western American cartography. 

First, there is no guesswork here, no reliance on "the best 
authorities." Assisted by the very able surveyor and cartographer, 
Charles Preuss, Fremont put down only those features of the 
land which he or members of his party had seen and charted. 
The result is a good deal of white paper — left to be filled in by 
his successors. 

Second, the map and its accompanying journal brought both 
Fremont and his sponsoring agency, the Corps of Topographical 
Engineers, strongly to the attention of a public just beginning to 
filter into the far West. It became a kind of road map of the 
Oregon and California trails, though extending only as far as 
the Continental Divide. Preuss would later turn out a series of 
far more useful cartographic guides to Oregon (our Map 4 in 
seven sections). 

One needs to remember, when inspecting printed maps, that 
he is seeing a highly refined product. The final printed sheet 
was pulled from the lithographer's plate after careful engraving 
by craftsmen in Washington or Baltimore (in this case E. Weber 
& Co., Baltimore). Its finely incised lines and neat, small letter- 
ing are the work of an artisan, not a cartographer. The original 
manuscript, now apparently lost, would have been drawn by 
Preuss or an assistant, softer in line but as accurate as the cal- 
culations from the notebooks and field sketches could make it. 
Two or more manuscript drafts may have been made before 
Fremont and his superiors in the Corps had achieved what they 
wanted. 

No one should believe that Fremont thought he was "path- 
finding" on the expedition which produced this map. He fol- 
lowed in the wagon ruts of westering families most of the way. 



10 



It was precisely for this reason — a population moving west — that 
he was ordered to make his reconnaissance and produce a de- 
pendable map of the route as far as South Pass. 4 

Only when the party reached the South Pass region, and made 
a side trip along the western slope of the Wind River range, was 
Fremont traveling over new ground. For his journal and some 
annotations for this part of his survey, see our Vol. 1, pp. 254-73. 

I "explored" the routes shown on this map in the spring of 
1967, but it was pretty much like armchair editing. Some of it, 
at least, was clearly station-wagon editing, for the lower trail 
parallels modern highways much of the way. 1 approximated his 
route along the Wind River Mountains, spent some rainy nights 
encamped beside Fremont Lake near Pinedale, Wyo., with my 
ubiquitous quadrangle maps, and concluded that local climbers 
and historians already knew far more about Fremont's well- 
known ascent of a peak than I could ever determine. Readers of 
Vol. 1 will find me following Orin and Lorraine Bonney in 
naming Woodrow Wilson Peak as the one climbed by members 
of the exploring party. 

Map 3 

When I say that this map of 1S45 is one of a kind, one of the 
brightest documents in a veritable welter of maps appearing 
during Fremont's generation, I am respectfully mindful of its 
predecessors. 

Like a promising laboratory experiment that is never reported 
or a fine biography that never finds its way out of first draft, an 
unpublished map is mainly raw material for the historian. Fate 
comes in here. Lewis and Clark sent back to Thomas Jefferson in 
1S05 the great-grandfather of all western U.S. maps. It was not 



4 There are many detailed studies of the Oregon and California 
trails. An excellent recent one, but limited to the routes along the 
Platte and North Platte, is Merrill J. Mattes, The Great Platte River 
Road (Lincoln, Nebr., 1969). The bibliography in our Vol. 1 lists 
several others. The Mattes volume, though it follows the route of 
Fremont and other travelers only as far as Fort Laramie, deals with 
many topographic features which are mentioned in Fremont's journal 
and shown on his map, and becomes a useful reference for studying 
these documents. 



ii 



published until a century later, the nearest approach being an 
augmented but truncated version appearing in the 1814 edition 
of the Lewis and Clark narrative. Jedediah Smith, a traveler and 
geographer whose exploits are well known through the writings 
of Morgan, Wheat, and others, came to our attention mainly 
through the eyes and ears of other travelers. Albert Gallatin, 
onetime Secretary of the Treasury, compiled a map which, al- 
though published, drew little current attention. 

The Fremont map of 1845 had these virtues: It was compiled 
and drawn by the men who had traveled the land under some- 
times nearly unbearable circumstances. It was a "white space" 
map, like the one of 1843, because the makers chose to show only 
what they had seen — with a few exceptions. 5 It was scientifically 
constructed, made during a period when men thought (too 
optimistically, at times) that they had learned to determine 
latitude and longitude with reasonable accuracy, and with instru- 
ments not unlike those still in use a generation later. Had Meri- 
wether Lewis and William Clark been able to publish Clark's 
great production of 1804-5, redrawn by Washington cartographer 
Nicholas King the following year, it would have been a monu- 
ment to skill and courage, but would have been useless to a na- 
tion still not ready to act upon the knowledge it provided. Fre- 
mont's 1845 production was the right map at the right time. 

His determination to publish a document drawn principally 
from personal observation led him astray. He searched doggedly 
for the fabled Buenaventura River, leading from the Great Basin 
to the Pacific, though Gallatin and others had long since dis- 
pelled the legend. His journals mention his search for it — often 
with some skepticism — but his map shows that he failed to find 
the river. Certainly Fremont could have profited from a long 
interview with the unfortunate, short-lived Jedediah Smith. 

The errors on the map are well known to scholars. The depic- 
tion of Great Salt Lake and Utah Lake as one body of water 
occurred because the party was unable to make a thorough in- 
vestigation of the region. The headwaters of the Sacramento are 



5 One notable exception: he laid down the outline of the Pacific 
Coast from the work of the English explorer, George Vancouver, 
who had done his charting in 1792-94 and whose map had been 
employed by Lewis and Clark several years before Fremont was born. 



12 



mistaken. Certain mountain ranges are drawn in conventional- 
ized style, and would not be surveyed systematically until after 
the Civil War. The routes of the expedition as shown can be 
debated at length; not surprisingly, these men at times simply 
did not know where they were. 

Perhaps the most important line on the map is the line of type 
sweeping down from the Blue Mountains of the Oregon country 
to the depths of the Mojave Desert. It describes Fremont's vital 
geographic discovery, the Great Basin, an enormous parcel of 
western America with no exterior drainage. Rivers rise there, 
then evaporate and disappear. The Great American Desert of 
Zebulon Pike and Stephen H. Long was mainly a point of view; 
Fremont's Great Basin was a geographic reality which only a 
man who had circumnavigated it, on foot and horseback, could 
comprehend. 

Copies of this map soon became a base map which others used 
to expand the boundaries of cartographic knowledge. The actual 
plates appear to have been used, and added to, to produce the 
map of "New Mexico and the Southern Rocky Mountains" 
which resulted from the reconnaissance of Lieuts. J. W. Abert and 
W. G. Peck (reproduced in Wheat. 2:193). This was only nat- 
ural, as the Abert-Peck survey was conducted as a part of 
Fremont's 1843-44 expedition. Rufus B. Sage's map in his Scenes 
in the Roc\y Mountains (1846) is another adaptation, contain- 
ing Sage's own routes and other additions. 

Perhaps the most unusual and important use of the 1845 map 
as a base was not discovered until 1953, when Carl I. Wheat was 
working with the map collection of the American Geographical 
Society. He discovered a copy of the Fremont map containing 
penciled routes and notations, and frequent mentions of the 
names "Smith" and "J. S. Smith." Research proved that the 
added material had come from the famed western traveler, 
Jedediah S. Smith, and had been set down by George Gibbs, an 
early Oregonian. It is the closest thing to a Smith map that has 
come to light. 6 

It was a costly matter, getting this historical Fremont map be- 
fore the public, considering the expenses of the expedition itself 



6 For the full story of this discovery, see Wheat, Chap. 18, and 
Wheat and Morgan, both previously cited. 

*3 



as well as the "back home" costs of preparation and printing. 
The cost of merely lithographing the map and the drawings for 
the 1845 edition of the journals, as billed to the government by 
E. Weber & Co., Baltimore, was $9,85130. 7 

Let Carl I. Wheat justify the cost of it all with this appraisal: 
"The year 1<S45 . . . because of a single event is in fact one of 
the towering years in the story of Western Cartography. In that 
year John C. Fremont's report of his journey to Oregon and 
California in 1843-44 was published. This report and the Fre- 
mont (Preuss) map which accompanied it, changed the entire 
picture of the West and made a lasting contribution to cartog- 
raphy" (Wheat, 2:194). 

Map 4 (in seven sections) 

Readers of Charles Preuss' diary of his travels with Fremont, 8 or 
even those excerpts in the footnotes in our own Vol. 1, will 
know him as a dour and often ungrateful curmudgeon, con- 
temptuous of Fremont and indeed of much of the world (he 
later took his own life). But anyone who studies the maps pre- 
sented here will recognize the work of a great cartographer. 

We have not discovered who first conceived the idea of a large- 
scale map of the Oregon Trail, done in sections so that the wagon 
traveler could handle one section with ease, even on a windy day. 
It must have been decided soon after publication of the 1845 
map and journals, for by 6 Jan. 1846 a proposal was made in the 
Senate to print 10,000 copies of such a map. It was hoped that 
copies might be made for ten cents each, maybe five. By the 
middle of April, a lithographer had been chosen (again, E. 
Weber & Co., Baltimore), and on 25 April the Senate engaged 
Preuss to do the work on terms he had proposed, "the compila- 
tion to commence 21st Ult., the dav on which vou began the 
work." 9 



' Secretary to the Senate, Asbury Dickins, to Deacon H. Lewis, 
chairman of the Committee on Finance, 15 April 1846, National 
Archives, Record Group 46, Letterbook 3:192. 

8 Charles Preuss, Exploring with Fremont, trans, and ed. by Erwin 
G. and Elisabeth K. Gudde (Norman, Okla.. 1958). 

!) See the correspondence in Secretary Asbury Dickins' letterbooks, 
as cited in note 7, Letterbook 3:183, 191, 192. 



M 



Again Preuss sticks pretty much to the trail and inserts little 
information that he and Fremont had not gained in the field. 
The scale of ten miles to the inch, or approximately 250 miles 
per sheet, permitted much more detail than that on the 1845 
map, and the many excerpts from Fremont's journals made the 
whole compilation the early equivalent of a modern road atlas. 
It hardly serves this purpose today, hut it was never far from my 
reach when I traveled the same route in preparation for this 
study. Especiallv helpful were the actual route of Fremont's 1843 
trip to the Oregon country and the approximate locations of 
campsites. 

Map 5 

This map has never excited me in the way that earlier Fremont- 
Preuss productions have, though I recognize it as an important 
advance in western U.S. cartography. The time for field work, 
for note-taking and sketching under wretched conditions, had 
given way to the next logical process: compilation of past ob- 
servations, including those of the "best authorities." It was time 
to start filling in the white spaces by relying upon the researches 
of others as well as one's own. 

We shall have another opportunity to comment upon this map 
when we publish the report which accompanied it, F^mont's 
Geographical Memoir upon Upper California (1S48) , which 
probably will appear in our Vol. 3. In the meantime, readers 
fortunate enough to have access to the limited editions of the 
Book Club of California may find the Memoir, the map, and 
learned analyses by Allan Nevins and Dale L. Morgan in a re- 
print with the same title (San Francisco, 1%4). I think it un- 
likely that we can improve upon the Nevins-Morgan work. 

The hand of Senator Thomas Hart Benton shows strongly in 
the production of this map. The National Intelligencer of 14 
Mav 1847 reported on plans of the Senate to sponsor the project, 
and at that time there were two maps under consideration — one 
of the Rockies and another of the Pacific region. According to 
the Intelligencer, which seemed to be getting its information 
from Benton, Charles Preuss was to do the compilation from 
notes on hand, plus additions which Fremont's third expedition 
might have produced. Benton was quoted as lauding his son-in- 

i5 



law, pointing out that Fremont had applied for no copyright and 
had labored in the interest of science disinterestedly and en- 
thusiastically. 

On Benton's motion, the Senate resolved 5 June 1848 that 
Secretary Dickins be authorized to contract for lithographing 
and printing 20,000 copies of the Memoir and the map (National 
Intelligencer, 6 June 1848). The House produced its own edition 
in 1849. Soon thereafter, the Senate directed its secretary to pay 
Fremont "for his labor and services since he left the army of the 
United States, in preparing and compiling the map of Oregon 
and California . . . and in drawing up a geographical memoir 
in illustration of said map" (National Intelligencer, 20 July 
1848). His rate of pay was not to exceed 'that paid to J. N. Nicol- 
let for his services in compiling the map of the Upper Mississippi. 

Let me waver just once in mv determination not to attempt a 
detailed analysis of this map. By virtue of a brief phrase, en- 
graved twice on the map and most difficult to read without a 
hand lens, the map becomes the first to show, to a widespread 
readership, the region of the new gold strike in California. In 
the vicinity of Nueva Helvetia, on the Rio de los Americanos 
and the upper course of the Rio de las Plumas, appear the words 
"El Dorado or Gold Region." 

When the map first appeared with these words, suspicion 
grew that Fremont had mounted his ill-fated 1848-49 expedition 
to California in the full knowledge that gold had been found. 
Senator Benton, in what appears to be a perfectly true account of 
the matter, answered the charge in 1849: "In answer to your in- 
quiry I have to say that it is totally false that Mr. Fremont knew 
anything about the gold mines of the Sacramento, or that he 
went back with anv view to work them. He had started back 
[to California] before the first news of them came to the United 
States. . . . The gold region was marked on his map from in- 
formation brought in by Lt. [Edward F.] Beale, of the Navy, 
after he was gone." 10 



10 Benton to an unknown correspondent, 28 Jan. 1849, New- York 
Historical Society. 

16