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John Charles 

. ^ /£r/ 



Travels from 1848 to 1854 


"I have seen in no other man the quaHties 
of Hghtness, activity, strength and physical 
endurance in so perfect an equiUbrium. 
. , . The rough camp-Hfe of many years 
has lessened in no degree his native re- 
finement of character and polish of man- 
ners. A stranger would never suppose him 
to be the Columbus of our central wilder- 
ness, though when so informed, would 
believe it without surprise." — Bayard 
Taylor, in Eldorado (New York, 1850). 


John Charles Fremont 
Volume 3: Travels from 1848 to 1854 


"The Columbus of our central wilder- 
ness." Few phrases have captured so well 
both the reality and symbolic aura sur- 
rounding John Charles Fremont (1813- 
90). Soldier, explorer, politician, financier, 
land speculator, and amateur scientist, 
Fremont was a man of monumental 
achievements — and abysmal failures. The 
third volume of The Expeditions brings to 
a close a magnificent trilogy on this re- 
markable figure's triumphs and tribula- 
tions during his great years of western 

Travels from 1848 to 1854 presents Fre- 
mont the tarnished hero. Disaster struck 
in 1848-49 when Fremont's fourth expe- 
dition tried to cross the Rockies in mid- 
winter. Unprecedented cold, impassable 
snows, and exhausted supplies forced a 
tragic retreat that claimed the lives of ten 
men and left lingering suspicions of can- 
nibalism. A final but less fateful expedi- 
tion would have to wait until 1853-54. 

(Continued on bacl^ flap) 


John Charles Fremont 


John Charles Fremont as he looked about 1849. From a print in 
Walter Colton's Three Years in Calijorma (New York, 1850). 


John Charles 


Travels from 1848 
to 1854 




Donald Jackson (chairman) 

Herman R. Friis 

Robert W. Johannsen 

Howard R. Lamar 

Doyce B. Nunis, Jr. 

Publication of this work was supported in part by 

grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the 

National Historical Publications and Records Commission. 

Quotations from the papers of the Hon. George Washington 
Wright (1816-85) are published with the kind permission of 
Mr. M. A. Goodspeed, Jr., of Chevy Chase, Md., a descendant 
and the owner of these documents, which may be quoted 
without permission. 

© 1984 by the Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois. 
Manufactured in the United States of America. 

This boo/{ is printed on acid-free paper. 

Library of Congress Cataloging in Publication Data 

Fremont, John Charles, 1813-1890. 

The expeditions of John Charles Fremont. 

Vol. 3 edited by Mary Lee Spence 

Includes bibliographies. 

CONTENTS:— V. 1. Travels from 1838 to 1844.— v. 2. 

The Bear Flag Revolt and the court-martial. — v. 2. suppl. 

Proceedings of the court-martial. — v. 3. Travels from 

1848 to 1854. 

1. United States — Exploring expeditions. 2. United 
States — Description and travel — To 1848. 3. United 
States — Description and travel — 1848- 860. 4. Fremont, 
John Charles, 1813-1890. I. Jackson, Donald Dean, 
1919- ed. II. Spence, Mary Lee, ed. III. Title. 

F592.F852 917.3'046 73-100374 
ISBN 0-252-00416-7 (Vol. 3) 


I find it impossible to thank by name the many, many scholars and 
librarians who have assisted me in preparing the present volume. I 
wish to acknowledge, however, at the institutional level the con- 
tinuing support of the National Historical Publications and Records 
Commission and the staff of the University of Illinois Press. At 
the personal level, I am especially grateful for the help of four per- 
sons: M. A. Goodspeed, Jr., of Chevy Chase, Maryland, who gener- 
ously permitted me to use the papers of George W. Wright; Bertha 
Schroeder of Mariposa, California, who patiendy answered many 
questions about the history of this area; and Patricia Joy Richmond of 
Crestone, Colorado, and Todd I. Berens of Santa Ana, California, 
who helped me follow the trails of Fremont's fourth and fifth expedi- 
tions respectively. 

During the preparation of this work, the granddaughter of John 
Charles and Jessie Benton Fremont, Miss Jessie Fremont, died in 
Washington, D.C. Her enthusiasm for the project and her permission 
to use family papers are gratefully acknowledged. 

Mary Lee Spence 


Introduction xix 

Symbols Ixxxi 

The 1848-49 Expedition: Disaster in the Garitas 

i. fremont to john torrey, 22 march 1 848 3 

2. fremont to john torrey, 3 may 1 848 3 

3. fremont to john torrey, 5 may 1 848 4 


Intelligencer, 14 may 1848 5 






Intelligencer, 6 june 1848 16 

10. FREMONT TO THE EDITORS OF THE National Intelligencer, 

8 JUNE 1848 17 


Intelligencer, 12 june 1848 21 

12. FREMONT TO THE EDITORS OF THE National IntelUgenccr , 

14 JUNE 1848 25 


Intelligencer, 16 JUNE iS^S 29 

14. FREMONT TO THE EDITORS OF THE National Intelligencer, 

20 JUNE 1848 3° 


Intelligencer, 22 june 1848 33 



[i JULY 1848] 35 



19. FREMONT TO J. J. ABERT, 1 3 JULY 1 848 40 




[18 AUG. 1848] 42 

23. fremont to a committee of the citizens of 
charleston, 1 8 aug. 1 848 44 

24. fremont to george engelmann, 1 9 aug. 1 848 46 

25. fremont to walter r. johnson, 1 9 aug. 1 848 46 

26. james buchanan to fremont, 29 aug. 1 848 47 

27. fremont to richard burgess, 3 1 aug. 1 848 47 

28. fremont to john torrey, 3 sept. 1 848 48 

29. Fremont's notice to California claimants, 

[7 SEPT. 1848] 49 

30. Fremont's notes on the 1848-49 expedition 50 


32. andrew cathcart to c. j. colville, 30 oct. 1 848 65 

33. andrew cathcart to c. j. colville, 1 7 nov. 1 848 67 

34. fremont to thomas h. benton, 1 7 nov. 1 848 7i 

35. jessie b. fremont to john torrey, 8 dec. 1 848 74 

36. fremont to jessie b. fremont, [27 jan.-17 feb. 1 849] 75 

37. andrew cathcart to c. j. colville, 10 feb. 1 849 9 1 

38. fremont to thomas h. benton, 24 feb. 1 849 92 

39. diary of richard h. kern, [8 dec. 1848-9 march 1849] 94 

Politics and Economics 

40. fremont to benjamin d. wilson, i june 1 849 iii 

41. john m. clayton to fremont, 26 june 1 849 112 

42. excerpt from a letter of fremont to thomas h. 

benton, 27 june 1 849 ii3 

43. john m. clayton to fremont, 28 june 1 849 ii 4 

44. fremont to john m. clayton, aug. 1 849 ii5 

45. john b. weller to fremont, 27 sept. 1849 i16 

46. fremont to john b. weller, 3 1 oct. 1 849 ii7 

47. fremont to benjamin d. wilson, 1 5 nov. 1 849 i18 

48. fremont to john m. clayton, 1 5 nov. 1 849 ii9 








[l APRIL 1850] 129 





59. FREMONT TO THE EDITORS OF THE National Intelligencer^ 

[9 APRIL 1850] 139 







66. FREMONT TO THOMAS O. LARKIN et al., 30 APRIL 185O 1 46 



69. fremont to william m. gwin, 8 may [1850] 1 49 

70. robert m. patterson to fremont, lo may 185o 15o 

71. fremont to robert m. patterson, 1 5 may 185o i51 

72. fremont to c. edwards lester, 1 7 may 185o 1 52 

73. fremont to c. edwards lester, 1 7 may 185o 153 

74. fremont to richard robert, 1 9 may 185o 1 54 

75. Fremont's power of attorney to richard Robert and 
david hoffman, [2 1 may 1850] 15^ 

76. fremont to david hoffman, 22 may 185o 1 58 

77. fremont to charles f. mayer, 28 may 185o 159 

78. fremont to charles f. mayer, 30 may 185o 160 

79. abbott lawrence to fremont, 3 1 may 185o 160 











89. FREMONT TO J. J. ABERT, 1 8 JUNE 185O 1 68 






95. FREMONT TO MR. GRAY, 3 JULY 185O 173 




CRAFT, 24 JULY 1850 178 









108. FREMONT TO MRS. M. A. EDWARDS, 12 SEPT. 185O 1 94 




112. FREMONT et ul. TO PRESIDENT FILLMORE, 20 SEPT. 185O 1 98 



115. FREMONT TO EDWARD SIMMES, [28 SEPT. 185O?] 1 99 




119. FREMONT TO JOHN TORREY, 30 OCT. 185O 207 





124. DAVID HOFFMAN TO FREMONT, 10 JAN. 1 85 1 220 

125. FREMONT TO PERSIFOR SMITH, 12 JAN. 1 85 1 221 

126. FREMONT TO CHARLES M. CONRAD, 29 JAN. 1 85 1 221 


128. DAVID HOFFMAN TO FREMONT, 7 FEB. 1 85 1 223 

129. DAVID HOFFMAN TO FREMONT, 21 FEB. 1 85 1 224 

130. FREMONT TO J. W. MC CORKLE et uL, 26 FEB. 1 85 1 225 



133. FREMONT TO ABEL STEARNS, 24 APRIL 1 85 1 229 



136. DAVID HOFFMAN TO FREMONT, 2 MAY 1 85 1 233 

137. DAVID HOFFMAN TO FREMONT, 10 MAY 1 85 1 234 



140. FREMONT TO GEORGE W. BARBOUR, 1 9 MAY 1 85 1 237 

141. GEORGE W. BARBOUR TO FREMONT, 28 MAY 1 85 1 238 




145. GEORGE W. BARBOUR TO FREMONT, 1 5 JULY 1 85 1 242 

146. DAVID HOFFMAN TO FREMONT, 1 8 JULY 1 85 1 242 


148. DAVID HOFFMAN TO FREMONT, 29 JULY 1 85 1 244 



151. DAVID HOFFMAN TO FREMONT, 2 AUG. 1 85 1 254 

152. FREMONT TO JOHN C. PARROTT, 5 AUG. 1 85 1 255 


154. RICHARD ROBERT TO FREMONT, 12 AUG. 1 85 1 257 

155. FREMONT TO PABLO DE LA GUERRA, 1 5 AUG. 1 85 1 258 


156. david hoffman to fremont, 1 5 aug. 1 85 1 259 

157. david hoffman to fremont, 1 6 aug. 1 85 1 260 

158. Fremont's Indian beef contract, [28 aug. 1851] 260 

159. Fremont's Indian beef contract, [28 aug. 1851] 261 

160. fremont to palmer, cook & company, 5 sept. 1 85 1 262 

161. Fremont's agreement with edward f. beale, 

18 SEPT. 1851 264 

162. Fremont's power of attorney to thomas h. benton, 

I OCT. 1 85 1 265 


164. FREMONT TO DAVID HOFFMAN, 8 OCT. 1 85 1 267 

165. DAVID HOFFMAN TO FREMONT, 24 OCT. 1 85 1 269 

166. FREMONT TO DAVID HOFFMAN, 29 OCT. 1 85 1 272 

JOHNSTON, [l AND II NOV. 1851] 274 

168. FREMONT TO DAVID HOFFMAN, 4 NOV. 1 85 1 275 

169. DAVID HOFFMAN TO FREMONT, 10 NOV. 1 85 1 276 

COMPANY, 10 NOV. 1 85 1 277 

171. DAVID HOFFMAN TO FREMONT, 20 NOV. 1 85 1 278 

172. DAVID HOFFMAN TO FREMONT, 25 NOV. 1 85 1 280 


27 NOV. 1 85 1 280 

174. DAVID HOFFMAN TO FREMONT, 9 DEC. 1 85 1 282 

175. FREMONT TO BENJAMIN D. WILSON, 10 DEC. 1 85 1 283 



178. FREMONT TO ABEL STEARNS, 12 DEC. 1 85 1 287 

179. DAVID HOFFMAN TO FREMONT, 1 5 DEC. 1 85 1 288 

180. DAVID HOFFMAN TO FREMONT, 1 6 DEC. 1 85 1 289 

181. FREMONT TO PABLO DE LA GUERRA, 1 8 DEC. 1 85 1 289 

182. DAVID HOFFMAN TO FREMONT, 21 DEC. 1 85 1 29O 

183. FREMONT TO DAVID HOFFMAN, 22 DEC. 1 85 1 292 

184. FREMONT TO GEORGE W, WRIGHT, 26 DEC. 1 85 1 296 

185. FREMONT TO WILLIAM M. GWIN, 26 DEC. 1 85 1 298 

186. FREMONT TO JOHN MC LOUGHLIN, 26 DEC. 1 85 1 299 

187. JOHN DUNCAN TO FREMONT, 26 DEC. 1 85 1 3OO 

188. EULOGIO DE CELIS TO FREMONT, 3 1 DEC. 1 85 1 309 


Fremont in Europe 


190. fremont to david hoffman, 1 5 jan. 1 852 letter 2 314 

191. fremont to john l. moffat, jan. 1 852 316 

192. john l. moffat to fremont, 1 5 jan. 1 852 317 

193. frederick goodell to fremont, 1 5 jan. 1 852 318 

194. s. count wass to fremont, [15 jan. 1 852] 32o 

195. fremont to david hoffman, 17 jan. 1852 32i 

196. david hoffman to fremont, 23 jan. 1 852 322 

197. Fremont's power of attorney to Joseph c. palmer, 

26 JAN. 1852 323 




201. DAVID HOFFMAN TO FREMONT, 8 FEB. 1 852 326 

202. PALMER, COOK & COMPANY TO FREMONT, 28 FEB. [1852] 329 

203. PHILIP R. FENDALL TO FREMONT, 28 FEB. 1852 33 1 




207. FREMONT TO DAVID HOFFMAN, [24 MARCH 1 852] 335 

208. DAVID HOFFMAN TO FREMONT, [24 MARCH 1 852] 335 




212. DAVID HOFFMAN TO FREMONT, [25 MARCH 1 852] 338 

213. FREMONT TO DAVID HOFFMAN, [25 MARCH 1 852] 338 



216. FREMONT TO DAVID HOFFMAN, [27 MARCH 1 852] 339 



219. FREMONT TO DAVID HOFFMAN, [28 MARCH 1 852] 34 1 



222. FREMONT TO DAVID HOFFMAN, [ca. 29 MARCH 1 852] 342 



224. david hoffman to fremont, 3 april 1 852 343 

225. david hoffman to fremont, 4 april 1 852 343 

226. fremont to david hoffman, [4 april 1 852] 344 

227. david hoffman to fremont, 5 april 1 852 345 

228. david hoffman to fremont, 8 april 1 852 345 

229. david hoffman to jessie b. fremont, 8 april 1 852 349 

230. jessie b. fremont to hoffman, 8 april 1 852 349 

231. Fremont's notice on leasing and sale, 13 april 1852 350 

232. fremont to thomas h. benton, 1 3 april 1 852 35 1 


MARIPOSA, [ca. 14 APRIL 1 852] 35 1 





30 APRIL 1852 359 


239. FREMONT TO JOSEPH C. PALMER, 7 MAY 1 852 360 

240. DAVID HOFFMAN TO FREMONT, 1 3 JULY 1 852 36 1 



26 JULY 1852 363 

243. FREMONT TO WILLIAM M. GWIN, 20 DEC. 1 852 364 

244. DAVID HOFFMAN TO FREMONT, 25 JAN. 1 853 365 

245. DAVID HOFFMAN TO FREMONT, 8 FEB. 1 853 367 

246. FREMONT TO DAVID HOFFMAN, 8 FEB. 1 853 367 

247. FREMONT TO DAVID HOFFMAN, 21 FEB. 1 853 368 

248. DAVID HOFFMAN TO FREMONT, 25 FEB. 1 853 368 







255. FREMONT TO CHARLES F. SMITH, 27 JUNE 1 853 373 


RE SENATE ABSENCE, 7 JULY 1 853 AND 5 JAN. 1 854 373 



The Fifth and Final Expedition, 1853-54 


259. fremont to theodore bacon, 6 aug. 1 853 382 

260. Fremont's agreement with Delaware hunters, 

16 SEPT. 1853 382 


OF THE FIFTH EXPEDITION, 22 AUG. -25 OCT. 1 853 383 

262. EXCERPT FROM THE Memoirs, [25-27 OCT. 1853] 405 

263. with fremont: solomon nunes carvalho's account 

of the fifth expedition, 25 oct. -26 nov. 1 853 406 

264. excerpts from letters: fremont to jessie b. 

fremont and thomas h. benton, 26 nov. 1 853 422 

265. with fremont: solomon nunes carvalho's account 

of the fifth expedition, 27 nov. 1 853 -21 feb. 1 854 423 

266. fremont to thomas h. benton, 9 feb. 1 854 letter i 468 

267. fremont to thomas h. benton, 9 feb. 1 854 letter 2 469 

268. fremont to abel stearns, 20 april 1 854 47i 

269. Fremont's railroad exploration, [21 april 1854] 472 

270. committee of the pioneer society of CALIFORNIA TO 
FREMONT, 29 APRIL 1 854 477 


30 APRIL 1854 478 


273. ABEL STEARNS TO FREMONT, 10 MAY 1 854 480 

274. FREMONT TO THE EDITORS OF THE National Intelligencer, 

13 JUNE 1854 480 

275. CHARLES F. SMITH TO FREMONT, 21 JUNE 1 853 [1854] 49O 

276. FREMONT TO ABEL STEARNS, 2 JULY 1 854 49 1 

277. FREMONT TO WILLIAM H. EMORY, 10 JULY 1 854 492 


279. FREMONT TO BRANTZ MAYER, 1 7 AUG. 1 854 493 


281. FREMONT TO ABEL STEARNS, 3 OCT. 1 854 494 




Appendix: Fremont's Early Mining Leases and Hoffman's 

Companies and/or Contracts 609 

Bibliography 611 

Index 619 























PLATES FROM THE Plantue Fremontianae 

Calyptridium umbellatum 599 

Fretnontodendron califomicum 600 

Calocedrus decurrens 601 

Coleogyne ramosissima 602 

Prunus fasciculata 603 

Chamaebatia foliolosa 604 

Carpenteria califomica 605 


Hymenoclea salsola 
Amphipappus fremontii 
Sarcodes sanguinea 



allexey w. von schmidt s survey of the 

mariposa estate, 1 852 
the patent boundaries of the mariposa estate 
comparison of the von schmidt survey of the mariposa 

estate with the patent boundaries 
routes of the fourth and fifth expeditions 
Fremont's route in the san juan mountains, 1848-49 
Sargent's sketch map of the mariposa 







"I Start suddenly for California tomorrow leaving many things un- 
finished," John Charles Fremont wrote to a scientist friend in late Au- 
gust 1854 as he prepared for his sixth trip to the Pacific Coast — this 
one by sea. The previous half-dozen years, covered by the documents 
in this volume, had not been easy for the handsome forty-one-year- 
old explorer. They had added to the breadth of his experience while 
mingling success, frustration, and bitter disappointment; throughout 
them Fremont had failed to exhibit the flawless character that an as- 
piring politician ought to possess. 

There had been the disastrous fourth expedition, 1848-49, with 
the horrors of exhaustion, starvation, possible cannibalism, and ten 
men dead on the icy reaches of the San Juan Mountains. The experi- 
ence was behind him; it reflected upon his leadership and he would 
not resurrect it with a report. Unfinished, too, was the report of his 
fifth expedition, 1853-54, across the Rockies into southern Utah and 
on into California. He fully intended to write one, but politics and the 
problem of obtaining title for Las Mariposas and other land interests 
in California, properties he optimistically thought held the key to his 
future wealth, would cause an indefinite postponement. Consequendy, 
the results of that expedition are known largely through his 14 June 
1854 letter to the editors of the National Intelligencer, which was sub- 
sequently published as a government document, and Solomon Nunes 
Carvalho's journal. 

Another unfinished piece of business was with his agent, David 
Hoffman, who had worked hard to promote his Mariposa mining 
holdings in London, only to be callously treated by the explorer. Fin- 
ished too soon for Fremont's and his wife's satisfaction was his sen- 
atorship in Washington, but the appetite for politics had been whetted. 
Not to be forgotten by either were Alexander von Humboldt's praises 
for earlier geographical discoveries and the award of the Founder's 
Medal by the prestigious Royal Geographical Society in London. De- 
spite the "ups and downs," one point was clear: Fremont was in a 


much better economic and political position in 1854 than in 1848, 
when his court-martial and resignation from the army had stripped 
him of a career and a regular income. 

At that point he had immediately gone to work obtaining fair ad- 
justments of the accounts of the California Battalion and of the debts 
he had incurred as civil governor, at the same time completing the 
Geographical Memoir to accompany Charles Preuss's map of Oregon 
and California. But neither he nor his father-in-law, Senator Thomas 
Hart Benton, could relinquish the idea of his continuing explora- 
tion — especially exploration at government expense. After all, this 
was what had made him a national hero. 

When the 9 May 1848 issue of the National Intelligencer noted that 
a whaler had been lost because of an error in the coastal charts "now 
in general use," the two saw an opportunity to recapture the limelight. 
Benton wrote immediately to indicate that the error, which set the 
California shore too far east, had already been detected by Fremont, 
whose soon-to-be-published map would show the correction. While 
he mentioned no names. Old Bullion really impugned the work of 
Charles Wilkes, then enjoying a reputation in the nations capital as 
the leading expert on Oregon and the Pacific Coast. With his regular 
naval salary and congressional funds to keep his scientific work mov- 
ing along every year, Wilkes's status was enviable.' It was highly un- 
likely that Congress would appropriate money to support the work of 
a second specialist in the same area, but perhaps Wilkes could be re- 
placed. Benton and the naval officer had clashed before and now took 
up the cudgel again. 

"Young Bullion," as Wilkes called Fremont, responded, and for al- 
most a month the public read about erroneous survey positions in the 
Sacramento Valley, priority in accurate charting of the coast, and sup- 
pression of corrections. Near the end of the controversy Wilkes prom- 
ised his wife that if Fremont replied again, he would give him a "ho- 
meopathic dose and have Col. Benton on one of the horns of the 
dilemma, either he made the claim [for Fremont] through ignorance 
or if he had knowledge of it then a wilful intention to deceive the 
public." ~ Fremont flatly stated that Wilkes's "entire surveys in Oregon 
and California as far as they follow his [Wilkes's] own observations, 
are erroneously laid down in his published work." That Wilkes's 

' WICKMAN, 11, 130. 

' Wilkes to his wife, 17 June 1848 (DLC— Charles Wilkes Papers). 


blunders on the Sacramento River were not the exception, and that 
the expedition had not always gone "on its own hook," were acknowl- 
edged by a former naval officer, James Alden. Fremont emerged from 
the dispute with enhanced scientific credit, but Wilkes was too en- 
trenched to be supplanted. 

During the acrimony with Wilkes, Fremont sent his geographical 
memoir to the Senate. He noted that "one more year of labor" in the 
geographical field would fill in the map of Oregon and California, 
permit the drawing of topographical and descriptive charts of their 
most valuable parts and a general map of the whole area west of the 
Mississippi River. His closing was almost a plea: "Having been many 
years engaged in this geographical labor, and having made so much 
progress in it, I should be much gratified with an opportunity to com- 
plete it in the public employ." 

Benton lobbied in the Senate for appropriations to permit this, 
while botanist John Torrey wrote a letter about the third expeditions 
discovery of new and rare plants, partly to support the argument for 
continuing the surveys and partly to assist Benton in his drive to have 
Congress allocate money for classifying plants and engraving draw- 
ings. Contacting some of his old followers, Fremont pushed ahead 
with preparations for crossing the continent on a central line intersect- 
ing the head of the Rio Grande. As the summer of 1848 wore on, 
there was increasing talk of a railroad from St. Louis to the Pacific; 
one objective of exploration would be to ascertain the practicality of a 
central route, especially in winter. 

On 5 August, in an amendment to the civil and diplomatic appro- 
priation bill, the Senate by an 18-to-16 vote approved $30,000 for Fre- 
mont's projected surveys and exploration. Five days later the House 
rejected the measure by an overwhelming margin of 128 to 29, thus 
assuring that the fourth expedition would be privately financed.^ Ac- 
cepting offers of nonofficial funding, Fremont also put himself for- 
ward as replacement for Consul Thomas O. Larkin as naval agent in 
California, a solicitation to which Secretary of State Buchanan failed 
to respond and which prompted Benton in his inimitable style to re- 
mind him of the Pathfinders ever-present willingness to serve his 

^ Senate Committee Report 226, 30th Cong., 1st Sess., Serial 512; Congressio- 
nal Globe, 30th Cong., 1st Sess., 5 and 10 Aug. 1848. 


Mr. Fremont sets out to California in a few days. He goes on his own 
resources, Mr. Campbell, of St. Louis, advancing him $5,000; and the 
same number of his old followers going with him, and just as good, as 
went with Ulysses into the belly of the Trojan horse. He goes for two 
purposes: first, to finish up the surveys for his great work on Oregon & 
California; secondly, to pacify the Californians (Americans as well as 
Mexicans) and hold them on to the United States in spite of the loss of all 
their bills and the non payment of the expenses of the war. He goes to 
save California, for he is not Coriolanus. He goes at all events, and imme- 
diately, but he thinks it due to the President of the United States to let 
him know his design, and to offer to carry out any letter or proclamation 
he may wish to send, and to become the agent of the government (if 
deemed necessary) in observing the progress of events, and the conduct of 
people (foreign as well as domestic) and counteracting all evil tendencies. 
If not employed by the government he will act on his own views, and add 
$5,000 to the $4,000 already spent in the good work, and give another 
year to the several already employed in making California American.^ 

Benton's "Mr. Campbell" was Robert Campbell, a wealthy mer- 
chant and banking friend in St. Louis with whom Fremont had had 
previous business dealings. In addition to Campbell, two other sub- 
stantial St. Louis businessmen supplied assistance, namely Thornton 
Grimsley, a saddler, and Oliver D. Filley, a Dutch oven manufacturer 
who would provide most of the camp equipment. Filley later became 
mayor of St. Louis and during the Civil War would support the Blair 
faction in their struggle with Fremont.' In 1848 the explorer could not 
have had much money of his own, but he may have obtained some 
funds from Benton. Many of the men in the fourth expedition, nota- 
bly Henry King, Andrew Cathcart, Thomas E. Breckenridge, Mica- 
jah McGehee, and the Kern brothers, seem to have supplied much of 
their own equipment and most certainly furnished their services free. 

About his own preparations for the expedition, Cathcart, the ad- 
venturous British Army officer, wrote at the time: "My own establish- 
ment will consist of 3 mules and I horse, and one mountain man, 
'half horse, half alligator' sort of character whom I hire to assist me 
packing and who takes his share of camp duties; one of the mules I 
ride and is packed with my kit (a very small one), blankets, Buffalo 
robe &c. and the other is mounted by my Squire while the horse runs 

■* Benton to James Buchanan, 20 Aug. 1848 (PHi — James Buchanan Papers). 
' UPHAM, 273; Charles P. Johnson, "Biographical sketch of O. D. Filley" 
(MoSHi — Filley Family Papers). 


loose with the pack mules, ready for Buffalo chasing and that sort of 
thing." ^ 

To some, Fremont apparently held out the hope that Tom Benton 
would ultimately persuade Congress to appropriate funds/ In the 
end, after the disaster in the mountains, Edward Kern reckoned that 
Fremont's own loss (from whatever sources) must have been between 
$8,000 and $10,000.' 

The California accounts and aspirations for the appointment as 
naval agent kept Fremont in Washington until late summer, with 
Benton calling the government's attention to the urgency of the situa- 
tion. "Every day's delay is throwing him deep into the winter snows in 
crossing the mountainous region to California. His baggage & men 
are all gone a head, waiting for him. ... He will go; and with a few 
men; and through dangers from Indians & snows, which will leave his 
undertaking without a parallel in history." '^ 

Giving Richard Burgess a power of attorney to setde his accounts 
with the government, Fremont was on his way in early September, 
accompanied by his wife, their six-year-old daughter Lily, and baby 
son Benton, age six weeks. From New York City, where arrange- 
ments were made to ship supplies to California, the party moved on 
to Buffalo to take passage on the lake steamer Saratoga,^" ultimately 
reaching St. Louis. 

The few days in St. Louis busded with activity, including a visit to 
the German scientist George Engelmann. By 3 October the Fremonts 
(without Lily) and the thirty-five men and their accouterments for the 
expedition were aboard the Martha, which backed away from the 
wharf and steamed up the Missouri, arriving at Kansas Landing on 8 
October without the infant Benton, who died en route. In a camp 
some three miles from Westport, the group was busily occupied buy- 
ing and purchasing mules, making mule shoes, and packing gear, al- 
though one member, John Scott, found time to shoot quail for Mrs. 

' Cathcart to C. J. Colville, St. Louis, 29 Sept. 1848 (National Register of Ar- 
chives, Scotland). All of the Cathcart letters cited in this volume are from this 


' Edward Kern to Mary Kern Wolfe, Taos, 10 Feb. 1849 (CSmH). 

' Benton to "Dear Sir," 30 Aug. 1848 (DNA-92, LR, Consolidated Corres. 
File — John C. Fremont). 

'" Letter of T. C. Peters, Buffalo Republic, reprinted in New York Evening 
Post, 31 July 1856. 


Fremont." Jessie occupied a Sibley tent until the group broke camp 
20 October, when she went to stay with Indian agent Robert W. 
Cummins and his wife, who were to put her aboard the steamer for 
St. Louis, the first leg of her trip by water to California. The night 
that camp was raised, Jessie later recorded, Fremont rode back for a 
few hours with her. The next morning "with our early tea for the 
stirrup-cup, 'he gave his bridle rein a shake,' and we went our ways, 
one into the mid-winter snows of untracked mountains, the other to 
the long sea-voyage through the tropics, and into equally strange for- 

1 " 12 

eign places. 

Thus began one of Fremont's most painful adventures. The story 
of the fourth expedition is simple and tragic. Led by Fremont and 
guided by a lean, eccentric veteran. Old Bill Williams, its thirty-three 
members challenged the elements — and lost. Ignoring warnings that 
the cold that year was unprecedented and that the San Juans were 
impassable in winter, they pushed on into the rugged La Garita range 
until waist-deep snow, knife-sharp winds honed by subzero tempera- 
tures, and exhausted supplies forced them to retreat. With food ex- 
hausted, mules collapsing, men numb and weak and sick, the tattered 
remnants struggled back, but ten of them and 120 mules had perished 
before the survivors reached safety. 

Fremont left no daily record of his fourth expedition, but his 1 848 
and 1849 letters to his wife and Senator Benton, in the words of 
Cathcart, the Scotsman in the party, give a "pretty good account."'^ 
The original letters seem no longer to exist, but fortunately Jessie and 
Benton excerpted them for the National Intelligencer; from its col- 
umns they were copied into many western journals and are now re- 
printed in this volume. Somewhat different and longer versions were 
transcribed in 1856 in John Bigelow's and Charles W. Upham's cam- 
paign biographies of Fremont. In many instances the additions were 
of personal thoughts and reminiscences. In 1849, "tact" may have 
caused the deletion of an implication that the men of the expedition 
were second-raters, at least in courage; in 1856 political expediency — 
the necessity to show a faultless leader — may have forced its restora- 
tion. No reference to his having ordered agricultural equipment ap- 
pears in the 1856 printing, leading one to suspect that in 1849 it was a 

" mcgehee[1], 1-11; E. M. Kern diary, 8-21 Oct. 1848 entries (CSmH). 
'^ P. 96 of Jessie B. Fremont's unpublished memoirs (CU-B); j. b. fremont 
[3], 55:907. 

'' Cathcart to Colville, St. Louis, 29 April 1849. 


Benton addition. Curiously, in his 1849 comments on Fremont's let- 
ters, the senator acknowledged that his son-in-law knew of the gold 
discoveries in California before he left the frontier, a fact which Ben- 
ton had denied some two and a half months earlier in private corre- 
spondence.'^ Edward F. Beale had arrived in Washington 16 Sep- 
tember 1848 with news of the discoveries; a bit later it was in all the 
Missouri newspapers, and was remarked upon by Cathcart, who had 
just joined Fremont in St. Louis. '"^ Gold was not the motive for the 
fourth expedition, but it may have been the compelling impulse for 
proceeding as rapidly as possible to California after the rescue in the 
San Juans. Two days after the last of his men straggled into Taos, 
Fremont, with his outfit renewed, was on his way. True, delay would 
have gained nothing but additional expense, and Jessie was expected 
to arrive in San Francisco in April. 

Some years later, perhaps in the 1 850s, possibly as late as the 1 880s, 
Fremont made notes on his fourth expedition and these begin the 
documentation of that fatal venture. They are used primarily because 
they list the names of the men who went into the mountains with 
him; they are followed by Cathcart s letters to his friend in England 
and the Fremont letters already noted. 

Jessie wrote an account of the expedition, probably for inclusion in 
the second volume of her husband s Memoirs, which was never pub- 
lished, but it adds nothing new to his notes and letters and is not 
reprinted here. Like the explorer, she blamed the guide. Old Bill Wil- 
liams, for the expedition's failure and added the charge of "evil char- 
acter." '"In starving times no man who knew him ever walked in 
front of Bill Williams,""^ she quoted Kit Carson as having said. 

At least seven of Fremont's fellow travelers left records of all or part 
of the expedition. The manuscripts of the sketchy diaries of the Kern 
brothers, Benjamin, Edward M., and Richard H., are in the Henry E. 
Huntington Library, San Marino, California. They were published in 
1960'^ and are not reprinted in this volume, except for the abbrevi- 
ated journal of Richard, which was printed immediately after the ex- 
pedition in Quincy, Illinois.'** Its chief interest lies in the adverse 

'^ Benton to "Sir," Washington City, 28 Jan. 1849 (NHi). 

" Cathcart to Colville, St. Louis, 29 Sept. 1848, takes note of the gold fever 
that held California in its grip. 

'* "Great Events during the life of Major General John C. Fremont," 84 


" Quincy Whig, 22 May 1849, Doc. No. 39. 


comments on Fremont, none of which appear in the Kerns' manu- 
script diaries or in their first letters home after the rescue. In fact Ed- 
ward had written to his sister, "The whole business may be laid down 
to error in judgment to whom attributable I am not now prepared to 
say." But in a few days he was unleashing his fury at Fremont. In the 
words of one of his biographers, the Kerns' admiration of their leader 
"had cracked like spring ice, leaving sharp, jagged disillusionment." 
In Taos and Santa Fe the two surviving brothers became the center of 
an anti-Fremont circle.'" 

Both Andrew Cathcart and Henry King seem to have kept diaries, 
but these have not been found. Richard Kern wrote to Cathcart re- 
questing a short extract from his journal "from Dec. 12 until Jany. 28" 
and an estimate of how much it had cost him for provisions."" And 
from Philadelphia, John Kern related having received a letter from 
the sorrowing Mrs. Christina King in which she stated that "upon 
Fremont's arrival in California, he admitted to her two sons who are 
out there that he had their brother Henry's journal, and requested the 
privilege of looking over it, which they very inconsiderately granted. 
On his arrival at Washington (as senator), when called upon for it, he 
stated that he left it with his brother-in-law, Jones; when Jones arrived 
he said he gave it to Mrs. Fremont. Now Fremont says that it was 
stolen from out of his camp."^' 

Charles Preuss left a short record of his experiences with the 
Fourth between 15 December 1848 and 12 February 1849. Published 
by Erwin and Elisabeth Gudde, it adds litde to Fremont's letters and 
Richard Kern's account. Preuss does record that King's comrades had 
eaten part of his body." 

The one member who left a running narrative of the expedition 
from St. Louis to California was Mississippian Micajah McGehee,"^ 
but unfortunately it is a reconstructed account and not a day-to-day 
journal. Entitled "Rough Notes of Rough Times in Rough Places," it 
may have been written from notations taken on the spot. A family 
member, James Stewart McGehee, reports that a few penciled scraps 
with such an appearance were found among Micajah's papers. For- 

'^ MINE [2], 61. 

'° Richard H. Kern to Andrew Cathcart, Santa Fe, 30 Sept. 1849 (CSmH). 
'■ John Kern to Richard H. and Edward M. Kern, Philadelphia, 30 May 1850 

" PREUSS, 149, entry of 17? Jan. 1849. 

" See Doc. No. 30, n. 13, for a biographical sketch. 


tunately, he had a typewritten transcription of the narrative prepared 
in 1913, for apparently a second volume of the manuscript journal has 
not survived. The James Stewart McGehee transcription is a full ac- 
count of the trip from its beginning in St. Louis in October 1848 to its 
termination in Los Angeles in April 1849.'^ The 218-page handwrit- 
ten narrative, which was given to the Library of Congress in 1975 by 
Ann Landis McLaughlin and Ellen Landis McKee, ends abruptly 
with the party resting at the Pima villages on 27 March 1849. Because 
of the existence of the transcription, there is every reason to assume 
that the handwritten account was continued into a second volume, 
which probably disappeared sometime between 1913 and 1935. Nov- 
elist and drama critic Stark Young, in an 1935 Saturday Evening Post 
article entitled "Cousin Micajah," refers to one journal only — 218 
pages — and notes that for many years it had lain in a bank vault in 
Micajahs home town, Woodville, Mississippi.'^ 

An extract dealing with the disaster in La Garita Mountains was 
published in the March 1891 issue of The Century:^ It had been sent 
to the journal by Charles G. McGehee, the brother who had bidden 
farewell to Micajah in St. Louis in 1848. In 1910 Outdoor Life brought 
out James Stewart McGehee s amplified account of the freezing and 
starving time. Utilizing the two McGehee versions, the Hafens pub- 
lished yet a fuller account in 1960 in their documentary volume of the 
fourth expedition and expressed the opinion that McGehee had writ- 
ten his account within ten years of the events reported.^^ Because the 
"mountain portion" of the journal has been published so many times, 
it is not reprinted here, although it is probably the most valuable part 
of the entire account. Nor are other portions of the journal repro- 
duced. While Micajah seems to be quite accurate in his information 
about the expedition per se, he actually relates very little about its day- 
to-day activities. He does not name the individual who suggested that 
his little group feed on the body of their dead companion, or state 
how his party, which included Cathcart, learned that members of the 
first rescue party had eaten part of the remains of Henry King, if they 
did; nor does he enlighten us as to the mens attitude toward Fremont, 
or when the latter left for the Mariposa region. 

^'' LU — James Stewart McGehee Papers. 


^^ For a reprint of the article, see Johnson & davis. 

" HAFEN & HAFEN, 143-73. Fof afi Opinion on composition, see their notes 143 
and 172. 


For yet another reason Micajah's journal is used simply for docu- 
mentation and summary information. His fascinating descriptions of 
the terrain, the buffalo and other forms of wildlife, the Indian tribes 
and their customs, and the settlements in New Mexico and Arizona 
rely too heavily on Adventures in Mexico and the Rocky Mountains 
(1847) and Life in the Far West (1849) by George Ruxton and on a 
work by Fremont's old foe, William H. Emory, entitled Notes of a 
Military Reconnaissance from Fort Leavenworth, in Missouri, to San 
Diego, in CalifojTiia. Indeed, some of the passages are borrowed almost 
verbatim, and perhaps it should not surprise that McGehee turned to 
these superb earlier writers when years later he began fleshing out his 
own rough notes. Ruxton's name was well known among the expedi- 
tion members; Cathcart for one would have talked about him. He 
and the twenty-seven-year-old Ruxton had been planning a hunting 
trip into the West when the latter fell ill with dysentery in St. Louis 
and died within two weeks. Cathcart then decided to join Fremont's 
Fourth. Emory's route from Albuquerque to Warner's Ranch in Cal- 
ifornia in 1846 was followed closely by Fremont and Micajah in 1849. 

In addition to the seven members who appear to have kept some 
actual records, Alexander Godey, Thomas S. Martin, and Thomas E. 
Breckenridge gave later accounts. Godey 's was in the form of a long 
letter written during the presidential campaign of 1856 and was spe- 
cifically designed to answer Richard Kern's criticisms of 1849, which 
were being re-circulated.'** Martin dictated his reminiscences in 1878 
to Edward F Murray for the H. H. Bancroft collection, and these 
were published in 1975."^ Breckenridge 's story is in the Western His- 
torical Manuscripts Collection at the University of Missouri. With 
Frederick Remington illustrations and high polishing by J. S. Free- 
man and Charles W Watson, it fascinated readers of Cosmopolitan in 
August 1896. The applicable portions of these three narratives have 
been relegated to notes, since the passage of time, old age, and — in 
the case of Godey — political motives eroded memory and, conse- 
quently, historical accuracy. 

Historians have long been intrigued by several questions arising 
from the fourth expedition. First, who was responsible for the disas- 
ter? Was it Fremont? Or did old Bill Williams, the colorful and expe- 

^* For example, see the Washington Daily Union, 31 July 1856, which re- 
printed the diary of Richard Kern as first published by the Quincy (111.) Whig, 
22 May 1849. 



rienced mountain guide, mislead the party, as Fremont charged? Per- 
haps both were to blame. In his gripping book The Men and the 
Mountain^ William Brandon argues that Williams did indeed lose his 
way, but that Fremont had given him an "insurmountable assign- 
ment." Another who has spent many years studying the expedition 
notes that the routes Williams chose were routes to where Fremont 
wished to travel, but that they were not the best routes, especially in 
the atypical winter of 1848-49, with its heavy snow and savage winds 
which took the chill factor to —75°.^" 

Intertwined with the first is a second question: what pass was Fre- 
mont using to cross the Continental Divide? At the time there were 
three possibilities. One, a southerly route, followed the old Spanish 
Trail through Abiquiu. Farther north were Carnero (presently Coche- 
topa) and Cochetopa (presendy North Cochetopa). Brandon con- 
tended that there was a fourth — Pass of the Rio del Norte — which 
since the 1850s had faded from memory. Presumably it was the short- 
est of the northern passes, but also the highest, steepest, and roughest. 
This, he wrote, was Fremont's objective. 

Brandon charts Fremont's route across the Sangre de Cristos by 
way of Mosca Pass and around the giant sand dunes in San Luis Val- 
ley. He tracks the men as they struggled westward across that valley's 
level, treeless floor, maintaining that killing temperature forced them 
to swing over to the more sheltered Rio Grande River, which they 
followed as far up as Alder Creek. After turning off the Rio Grande, 
the route seems to have "led up the narrow canon of West Alder 
Creek, past the present Round Park, on across the area of a feeder 
stream now known revealingly as Difficult Creek, and swung to the 
right up Long's Gulch, which brought them up against the flat- 
topped summit of Pool Table Mountain. They went around this and 
followed the extreme headwaters of Trujillo Creek (the highest fork 
of East Bellows Creek) to the ridge above its rincons and crossed this 
ridge to the head of Wannamaker Creek." ^' 

Brandon did careful field work for The Men and the Mountain, but 
Patricia Joy Richmond believes that his tracing of the expedition's 
route into the mountains is not entirely accurate, probably because he 
was given erroneous information by a ranger who had been in the 
San Juans a short time and did not know the history of the area. Rich- 

^^ BRANDON, 308, and Richmond. 

^' BRANDON, 306. 


mond, who lives in Crestone, Colorado, has spent fourteen years ab- 
sorbing local history and studying the extant documents and the ter- 
rain. In all seasons she covered the same ground, viewed the same 
sights, and experienced the same stresses as the intrepid explorers of 
1848_49. So thorough have been her on-site inspections of campsites 
that this editor has accepted her conclusions about the route. 

Richmond agrees with Brandon that the expedition reached Wan- 
namaker Creek, but she maintains that it did so by a more northern 
passage than the Rio Grande. Details of her Fremont route are sup- 
plied in the notes to the documents. She is also firmly convinced that 
historians have interpreted too narrowly early references to the Rio 
del Norte. They are not to just that part of the river that flows from 
Rio Grande Reservoir through Del Norte and Alamosa but to the 
entire river system of the San Luis Valley. This interpretation in effect 
makes all the streams of the San Luis Valley the headwaters of the Rio 
Grande. And finally, she maintains that Fremont intended to use 
presendy named Cochetopa Pass to reach the waters of the Colorado. 
It was the lowest in altitude, the most easily accessible for wagons, and 
under normal conditions would be free of snow.^' 

Statements after the destruction of the expedition reinforce Rich- 
mond's insistence that Cochetopa Pass had been the explorers destina- 
tion all along. Benton believed it; Antoine Leroux said so;^^ so did 
Gwinn Harris Heap, who for a time had been guided by Leroux 
and who had been Fremont's agent on the Mariposa. From the San 
Luis Valley, on 3 July 1853, Heap wrote: "We encamped on the Rio 
Grande del Norte, as the sun was setting behind the pass in the Sierra 
de San Juan, at the head of the Del Norte. This pass was in sight of 
us, and is the one which Colonel Fremont met with so terrible a disas- 
ter in the winter of 1848-49, so near was he to the object of his search, 
the Coochatope." ^"^ 

A third question has also perplexed historians. After the failure — 
the defeat by the elements — why did Fremont waste time and fur- 
ther dissipate the strength of his men by having the baggage, includ- 
ing pack and riding saddles, hauled from their Christmas camp on 
the west slope of Rincones Creek down to La Garita Creek, while he 
sent a "relief" party of four exhausted men more than a hundred 


" Leroux s statement in Letter from Col. Benton to the People of Missouri 
(Washington, D.C., 1853). 
'^ HEAP, 173-74. 


miles on foot to procure animals and supplies for the stranded expedi- 
tion? The answer is that his pride — the need to achieve victory after 
the court-martial humiliation, plus the memory of the triumphal 
winter crossing of the Sierras five years before — made him unwilling 
to accept the idea of surrender. Probably he hoped to use the station to 
mount another assault on the high mountains when the relief animals 
appeared. But unless aid came promptly, not only would he be unable 
to continue but he would also have to abandon the expensive equip- 
ment in order to save the lives of his men. Thus, after sixteen days of 
waiting, he decided to go himself in search of the relief party, but so 
tenaciously did he cling to the tattered hope of blazing a new route 
that he instructed his camp to wait three days, then follow him down 
the Rio Grande River. If he met the relief party immediately, all could 
yet be saved. Unfortunately, he found one of the party dead and the 
other three floundering and half-starved. An additional eight would 
perish in the mountains before help reached them.^^ 

As the emaciated survivors straggled into Taos, Fremont re- 
outfitted and on 13 February set out for California, going down the 
Rio Grande and then westward along the Gila route to Los Angeles. 
His "Notes" list some of the incidents of the trip and some of the 
places through which his party passed; as far as present-day Pem- 
broke or Tacna his route is marked on the map in his Memoirs. 

Touted as having been "drawn and engraved especially for Fre- 
mont's Memoirs^' the map seems to have been prepared much earlier 
than the Memoirs, a book of the 1880s, or at least based on one that 
was prepared earlier. Since it shows the additions to cartography that 
Howard Stansbury, Lxjrenzo Sitgreaves, and others had made during 
the 1850s, it was probably drawn at the end of that decade.^^ At least 
three names applicable for the fourth expedition would indicate so. 
The present-day San Carlos River appears as the San Francisco on the 
map, a designation given to the old Rio de Carlos by William H. 
Emory in the late 1840s. By 1874 the Public Survey maps and by 1875 
the military showed it again as Rio San Carlos." As governor of Ari- 
zona Territory between 1878 and 1881, Fremont would have been fa- 
miliar with the later name change, especially as he was riding over the 
country, prospecting for minerals. His 1848 map had labeled the 

" Raphael Proue died before JCF left the party on 1 1 Jan. Altogether he lost 
ten men. 

^ WHEAT [1], 3:203, discusses the problems of dating the map. 

^' BARNES, 115-16. 


present-day Salt River by that name, but the Memoirs map calls it Sa- 
linas, which, along with Salado, was a common designation for the 
stream in the 1850s. Fort Buchanan, another name on the Memoirs 
map, existed only between 1856 and 1861/* 

Analysis of the map with respect to the 1853-54 expedition also 
argues strongly for its preparation in the late 1850s. Lacking is the 
cartographical detail for southern and southwestern Utah — the re- 
gion traversed by Fremont in 1854, which George M. Wheeler had 
been able to include on his map of the region as a result of his explo- 
rations in 1869 and 1871.^" Presumably a Fremont map "drawn and 
engraved" in the 1880s would have included such detail, but the 
whole trail from the Cedar Mountains to California is deficient in the 
names of peaks, passes, and streams. Additional support for argument 
that the map was begun in the 1850s is a letter of Jessies to Francis 
Preston Blair noticing that her husband was "making out his calcula- 
tions for his map" and would "take some on to Mr. Hubbard at the 
Observatory." '"^ 

To return to the fourth expedition: by 20 April 1849 Fremont's 
party had reached Isaac Williams's magnificent Rancho del Chino — 
more than 35,000 acres, stocked with 15,000-20,000 head of catde, 
1,000 horses, and numerous mules, sheep, and hogs. Fremont repu- 
tedly contracted to purchase the property for $200,000, a reasonable 
sum, thought McGehee, who expansively wrote that cattle were sell- 
ing at $100 a head in the mines. The arrangement fell through, the 
New York Herald's correspondent reported, because the first payment 
had not been made on time. McGehee believed that "certain condi- 
tions of possession" prevented the fulfillment of the contract; Wil- 
liam R. Hutton reported to his uncle that the sale "cannot hold as the 
property belongs to Williams' children by his first wife. 


'" Ibid., 314. 

'■* I am indebted to Todd Berens for calling my attention to Atlas Sheet 59, 
"Southern and Southwestern Utah," U.S. Geographical Survey West of the 100th 
Meridian, which was prepared by Wheeler about 1872 or 1873. 

'» Jessie B. Fremont to F. P. Blair, 18 Nov. 1855 (NjP— Blair-Lee Papers). 

" Mc GEHEE [2], 166-67; martin, 28; William Rich Hutton to William Rich, 
Los Angeles, 14 July 1849 (CSmH); T F to editor, Rancho del Chino, 24 Aug. 
1849, New York Herald, 12 Nov. 1849; beattie, 127. Williams's first wife had 
been the daughter of Antonio Maria Lugo, who in 1841 deeded his son-in-law a 
half-interest in the ranch, which then comprised some five leagues or approxi- 
mately 21,000 acres. In 1847, "as a gift of inheritance," Lugo ceded the other 


It was probably at Williams's ranch, although Breckenridge says 
John Rowland s, that Fremont broke up his expedition. Breckenridge 
also recalled that the explorer gave each member a pony and a pack 
animal, "but nothing more as he had nothing more to give," although 
he made arrangements at Los Angeles for food and an outfit and in- 
vited each to try his luck on the Mariposa/" It may have been here, 
too, that Alexander Godey took twenty-eight of the many Sonorans 
who had joined Fremont on the trail and headed for Mariposa, where 
they would wash out gold on a contractual basis. 

Fremont paid a hurried visit to Los Angeles before pushing on to 
the Mariposa.''^ He soon recognized that money was to be made in 
supplying catde to the mushrooming mining camps and sent Godey 
back to Los Angeles to make purchases, while he went on to Mon- 
terey and then to San Francisco to meet Jessie and Lily, whose steamer 
had already arrived. He found them occupying a part of the residence 
of the late Vice-Consul Leidesdorff, now a club for wealthy mer- 
chants. Shordy they moved to the more genial climate of Monterey 
and occupied a wing of the home of former Governor Jose Castro.''^ 
Monterey was better for Jessies lungs, it was closer to the Mariposa to 
which Fremont was making frequent trips, and it was to be the site of 
the constitutional convention called for I September. Already the ru- 
mors were widespread that Fremont was anxious to become governor.''^ 

In late August Edward F Beale arrived with a letter from the 
president appointing Fremont to the Mexican Boundary Commission. 
He found the explorer in San Jose on the portico of Grove C. Cook's 

two and one half leagues to his granddaughters, Maria Mercedes and Francisca. 
WiUiams acquired adjacent property, and by 1849 the ranch embraced eight 
leagues or 35,000 acres. 


'' W. R. Hutton wrote to William Rich, 19 Aug. 1849, that he had been 
shown the beautiful steel ruler and fine telescope, made in Munich, which JCF 
had left in Los Angeles before going on to the Mariposa (CSmH). 

" Jessie gives a delightful description of her Isthmus crossing and the early 
months in California in "A Year of American Travel" (j. b. fremont [3J). She 
writes of their traveling carriage, which "Mr. Aspinwall had . . . built under his 
own directions in New Jersey" and of their many trips in it from Monterey to 
San Francisco, "stopping at different ranches and farms to see and be seen by the 
people who wished Mr. Fremont to bring me to them. We would turn out of our 
way to accept the invitation of some of the old Californians to visit them at their 
ranches." JCF was building political strength. 

'' William Rich to Mrs. J. R. Hutton, Monterey, 30 July 1849 (CSmH). 


home, wearing a sombrero and a Californian jacket. He had just re- 
turned from the Mariposa River and showed no trace of the terrible 
hardships of the previous winter. With Beale was the correspondent 
of the New York Tribune, Bayard Taylor, who remarked of the ex- 
plorer that he had "seen in no other man the qualities of lightness, 
activity, strength and physical endurance in so perfect an equilib- 
rium. ... A stranger would never suppose him to be the Columbus 
of our central wilderness, though when so informed, would believe it 
without surprise." He noted that Fremont had established a steam 
sawmill at Pueblo San Jose, close to the redwoods that made fine tim- 
ber, which promised a business more secure than the digging of gold. 
Lumber was then bringing $500 per thousand feet and he had a year's 
work engaged. Taylor stayed at the Miner s Home, where also lodged 
two of Fremont's men, Preuss and Creutzfeldt. He made a brief trip 
to the "diggings" on the Mokelumne, but when he returned to San 
Francisco in early September, he encountered Fremont at the United 
States Hotel and heard from him the particulars of the magnificent 
discovery on the Mariposa. He saw specimens too. "The stone was a 
reddish quartz, filled with rich veins of gold, and far surpassing the 
specimens brought from North Carolina and Georgia. Some stones 
picked up on top of the quartz strata, without particular selection, 
yielded two ounces of gold to every twenty-five pounds. Col. Fremont 
informed me that the vein had been traced for more than a mile. The 
thickness on the surface is two feet, gradually widening as it descends 
and showing larger particles of gold. The dip downward is only about 
20°, so that the mine can be worked at little expense." ^^ 

Fremont returned to Monterey, but as soon as the constitutional 
convention was over, he took his family to Happy Valley, about half a 
mile east of the old city of San Francisco, where he had a Chinese 
house erected and whence he commenced his campaign for a seat in 
the U.S. Senate. He assured the public "that by association, feeling, 
principle and education," he was "thoroughly a democrat," and that 
he would work hard for the immediate location and construction of a 
central, national railroad from the Mississippi to the Pacific. He also 

'"' TAYLOR, 69-70, 1 10- 1 1. Taylor is the only source the editor has located for 
JCF's activity in the sawmill industry. Since he liked later to pose as a conserva- 
tionist, he probably wished not to remember his destruction of the redwoods, 
however brief it might have been. Some documentation for the Fremonts' resi- 
dence in the area is a letter of Charles V. Gillespie to his brother: "I forgot to 
mention that Mrs. Fremont is for the present residing at Pueblo San Jose" 
(1 Sept. 1849, CLU— Gillespie Papers). 


explained why he had accepted, then resigned, a place on the commis- 
sion to determine the boundary with Mexico; he discussed his pur- 
chase of the Mariposa claim; and he defended his financial transac- 
tions during his brief governorship and embroglio with Gen. Stephen 
Watts Kearny in 1847. 

Eastern newspapers noted that Fremont's political character was 
not clearly understood and that "he has warmer friends and more 
unrelenting enemies than any man in California." Among the "ene- 
mies" was Charles V. Gillespie, brother of that Archibald Gillespie 
who in 1846 had pursued Fremont into the Oregon wilderness to 
urge him and his exploring expedition to return to California. As a 
supporter of T. Buder King, Gillespie complained that the Fremonts 
were too "haughty," and asked, "Who that has any interest in Califor- 
nia would like to see it represented in the Senate by Col. Benton & 
Mrs. Fremont?" After the legislature, meeting in San Jose, elected the 
explorer on the first ballot, he grumbled that the action was "the in- 
fluence of rowdies & gamblers." ^^ 

The new senator promptly displayed both political finesse and an 
appreciation of the honor by presenting 100 volumes of valuable 
books to the state, a collection that became the nucleus of the Califor- 
nia State Library.''^ A physician and politician from Mississippi, 
William M. Gwin, was elected on an early ballot as the states second 

When the Oregon cleared the Golden Gate for Panama on New 
Year's Day, 1850, she was carrying over $1,000,000 in gold and 280 
passengers, among them the Fremont family, Gwin, and the two 
other members of the California congressional delegation, Edward 
Gilbert and George W. Wright. A close friendship developed be- 
tween Fremont and Wright that was to endure until the latter's death 
some thirty-five years later. The significance of this relationship can 
be appreciated when it is remembered that Wright was one of the 
four founders of the San Francisco banking firm of Palmer, Cook & 
Company, which was to play so important a role in shaping Fremont's 
financial and political future. Wright himself was a true entrepreneur, 
ever promoting someone or some enterprise and rarely seeking the 
limelight for himself. He and Fremont were kindred spirits: both had 

'' Charles V. Gillespie to Archibald Gillespie, 1, 15, 28 Sept., 31 Oct., 31 Dec. 
1849 (CLU— Gillespie Papers). 

'* California Senate Journal, 19 Jan. 1850. The presentation was made by John 


visions of grand fortunes and both were willing to take inordinate 
speculative risks in the hopes of making their dreams come true. 

Detained in Panama by serious illness, the Fremonts did not arrive 
in Washington until the second week of March/^ In the interim be- 
tween his arrival and the admission of California to the Union on 10 
September 1850, the explorer kept his name before the public and was 
as active as "Chagres fever" would permit. He sent a long letter to the 
Mississippi and Pacific Railroad Convention in Philadelphia, urging 
the route between the 38th and 39th parallels; he promoted the estab- 
lishment of a mint in San Francisco; he defended his "state" against 
Henry Clay's charges that some Californians lacked loyalty to the 
Union; and he made arrangements for the development of Las Mari- 
posas, which in the end, as Allan Kevins has so accurately written, 
was to prove " a thorny and profitless maze," a "perfect Pandora s box 

r I ■ ■ "50 

or complications. 

When California's star was added to the flag, three weeks of the 
first session of the 31st Congress remained — time enough for Fre- 
mont to introduce at least eighteen bills, mostly routine and designed 
to establish the normal federal functions within the new state. None 
passed immediately, and since Fremont had drawn the short term and 
would fail at re-election, it would fall upon Senator Gwin to shepherd 
the legislation through Congress. The measures pertaining to the set- 
tlement of private land claims and to mining were of special interest 
to Californians. 

On the land question, the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo ending the 
Mexican War had guaranteed resident Californians protection and se- 
curity in the "free enjoyment" of their property as well as of their 
liberty and religion. Many American setders, however, were con- 
vinced that the grants were not only excessively large but also spu- 
rious, being made in the waning hours of Mexican hegemony and to 
personal friends of the Mexican governor, perhaps even backdated. 
Capt. Henry Wagner Halleck, who had been on Governor Richard B. 
Mason's staff, reported in 1849 that a large number of the titles were 
imperfect, but Fremont's brother-in-law, William Carey Jones, who 
had been sent to California specifically to procure information on the 
subject, found a majority of the land titles in conformity with Mexi- 
can law. 

'" National Intelligencer, 13 March 1850. 

'" NEVINS, 394. 


Fremont's land bill provided for a board of commissioners to exam- 
ine all claims. Its decision against the United States was to be final, but 
the claimant was given the right to appeal to the federal courts. Ben- 
ton was critical of the bill, feeling that it was much too stringent and 
would subject the country to confusion and grantees to protracted and 
excessive litigation. He would simply provide for the registration of 
land claims in California and the patenting of all claims in which 
there was no clear evidence of fraud. Neither Benton nor Fremont's 
measures passed and the Land Act of 1851 was largely the handiwork 
of Senator Gwin, whose sympathies lay with American land seekers. 
It permitted both the claimant and the United States to appeal a deci- 
sion of the Land Commission. Fremont spent scarcely five minutes in 
Congress on "his" land bill. When he returned to California, he as- 
sured his constituency that his purpose had been "to quiet titles, not to 
disturb them; to prevent, not promote litigation; to make every owner 
of property, or who contemplated owning property, secure in the ten- 
ure by which he should hold." Many suspected he was not completely 
pure in his motives. He was known to be a political favorite of the 
native Californians and the claimant to Las Mariposas. 

He was more attuned to the prejudices of his constituents when he 
voted in favor of confining mining privileges to American citizens. 
On the floor of the Senate he pointedly criticized the flood of Mexi- 
cans pouring into the Mother Lode mines: they were "a class of popu- 
lation of very doubtful character," he said, composed largely of "un- 
civilized Indians and inferior castes." With time, he would come to 
regret these nativistic remarks. In 1856, hoping to make his presi- 
dential candidacy more appealing to the foreign-born, he had his bi- 
ographer Charles Upham revise the senatorial chapter to eliminate 
this offensive statement before the manuscript went to the printers." ' 

Once the Congress had adjourned, Fremont and his family sailed 
from New York on the Cherokee, arriving in San Francisco via Pan- 
ama in late November aboard the California. Already he had written 

" Congressional Globe, 31st Cong., 1st sess., 19, Appendix, pt. 2, pp. 1362-72. 
As amended, the Senate bill reserved mining to U.S. citizens or "such foreigners 
from Europe or the British North American possessions as have filed their decla- 
ration of intention to become citizens," which caused the editor of the Stockton 
Times to wonder why the "sallow emigrants" of Old Spain or Italy were more 
desirable than the Mexicans (16 Nov. 1850). For Isaac Sherman's concern about 
JCF's early Americanism, see Sherman to Upham, 2 and 11 June 1856, and Fre- 
mont to Upham, 24 June 1856 (Hugh Upham Clark Collection, Arlington, Va.). 


friends of his desire to be returned to the Senate and enlisted the sup- 
port of young James Blair, who was then living in California and 
whose wife and young daughter the Fremonts were escorting to the 
Pacific Coast. James was the son of the politically powerful Francis 
Preston Blair, a staunch supporter of Benton and the editor of the 
Washington Globe until 1845. The friendship between the Bentons 
and the Blairs was so close that Jessie considered Silver Spring a sec- 
ond home and was a frequent correspondent of "Father" Blair and of 
his daughter Elizabeth. Because his father wished it, James worked 
assiduously for Fremont, even borrowing money to further his politi- 
cal cause." 

In January 1851 Fremont made his headquarters in San Jose, the 
capital, and quietly established the Argus to promote his campaign. 
That journal avowed its interest in "principles not men" and pledged 
itself to be "democratic to the core" in politics." Among Fremont's 
opponents were Democrats Solomon Heydenfeldt and John B. Weller; 
in addition, T. Butler King, John Geary, and James A. Collier also 
coveted the Senate prize. 

When the legislature met, suspicion, liquor, and lobbyists were rife. 
Countless litde secret caucuses and postponements hampered the bus- 
iness at hand. According to the Aha CalifoiTiia, the selection of a sena- 
tor and the proposal to move the seat of government to Vallejo were 
the "two huge grizzly questions" hanging like a spell over the law- 
makers. Finally, after much maneuvering, the two legislative houses 
met in joint convention on 18 February. After the ninth ballot, it was 
noted that the native Californian members were solidly behind Fre- 
mont, who usually ran second or third. Four more days of voting con- 
tinued, including Washington's Birthday, and a compromise caucus, 
which Fremont supporters refused to attend, failed to settle upon a 
single Democratic candidate. Finally on February 27, after the 142nd 
ballot, the legislature was dissolved and the election of a senator was 
carried over to the next term. "The city looks like a deserted town," a 
reporter wrote the following day. "The lobby has been evacuated; halt 

'- Montgomery Blair to Minna Blair, 27 May 1854 (DLC — Blair Papers). 

" See J. Winchester (editor of the Argus) in New York Tribune, 19 June 1856. 
Rare copies of the San Jose Daily Argus (it was published briefly as a weekly 
before it folded shortly after the adjournment of the legislature) may be found in 
the American Antiquarian Society and the New-York Historical Society. C. M. 
Blake and Co. are listed as the "Editors and Proprietors." 


the members are gone, and the other half look like Lucretia Borgia's 
victims after her feast of poison." ^^ 

A hostile San Francisco banker reported that Jessie blamed James 
Blair for her husbands defeat, but Montgomery Blair, who had gone 
out to San Francisco to settle the estate of his brother after his prema- 
ture death in December 1852, believed Fremont held William Carey 
Jones responsible. By 1856 the explorer was attributing it to the nulli- 
fiers, but slavery seems not to have been an issue in the election." In 
any case, Fremont decided that for the moment politics was "too 
costly an amusement" and was not a candidate in 1852.^^ 

He now became completely absorbed in business ventures, many of 
them speculative. One such was his contracts with the federal Indian 
commissioners to supply beef to the Indians, whose hostility and dep- 
redations had increased with the influx of miners into their old homes 
and hunting grounds. By early 1851 the situation had become espe- 
cially acute in the Mariposa region and a general war seemed immi- 
nent. Volunteers were being called out when the commissioners fi- 
nally arrived in California and adopted a policy of peace through 
food. At first the three commissioners acted jointly in negotiating 
treaties of peace and friendship whereby the natives ceded their old 
lands in exchange for specially reserved land and stated amounts of 
beef, flour, breeding stock, farm equipment, and clothing." After 
I May the agents divided California among them, but in their sepa- 
rate capacities continued to negotiate at least eighteen treaties that set 
aside a total of approximately 7,488,000 acres and promised substantial 
supplies of food and clothing — perhaps worth as much as $800,000 or 
$1,000,000.'** To make these agreements effective, ratification in 
Washington was necessary, but the commissioners believed that delay 
might bring actual hostilities and thus contracted directly with indi- 
viduals to supply provisions immediately. With only $50,000 available 
to the commissioners at the time, contractors were compelled to ac- 
cept payment in the form of drafts upon the Secretary of the Interior. 

Fremont's proposals to supply some of the beef are dated 12 and 19 

'"' For the attempts to elect a senator, see Alta California, 10 Jan. -3 March 

" Montgomery Blair to Minna Blair, 27 May 1854 (DLC— Blair Papers); JCF 
to Charles Robinson, 17 March 1856, printed in bigelow, 447-48; bartlett. 

'" JBF to F P. Blair, 14 Aug. 1851 (NjP— Blair-Lee Papers). 

" See MITCHELL, 102-7, for the text of the treaty signed 29 April 1851 at 
Camp Barbour on the San Joaquin. 



May 1852; the acceptance of George W. Barbour, the commissioner 
responsible for the southern district, is dated 28 May. And yet on 1 1 
May Fremont had been able to write his London agent that he had 
"made some large cattle contracts." '' The probability of an Indian 
market for beef had undoubtedly been a consideration in his offer to 
purchase Los Alamitos from Abel Stearns in late April and in his 
decision to establish a substantial catde ranch on the Mariposa, where 
he went in mid-May. From there he proceeded south to acquire cattle, 
part of which seem to have come from Eulogio de Celis, who probably 
took them out of the herd which Fremont had left in trust with 
Stearns in the spring of 1847.^" Antonio Jose Cot, William Work- 
man, and Francisco Ocampo furnished some and probably also Henry 
Melius and John Rowland; all of them were paid, at least in part, by 
checks drawn on Palmer, Cook & Company. 

Fremont or his agents delivered some cattle directly to the different 
Indian tribes and a large herd of 1,900 to Barbour on the San Joaquin 
River. Barbour turned them over to the subagent, Adam Johnston, 
who in turn passed them along to James D. Savage, the Indian trader, 
for transfer to the Indians. Altogether from Barbour Fremont re- 
ceived a total of $183,825 in drafts drawn on the Secretary of the Inte- 
rior. A large part of this — $153,575 — he used to obtain an immediate 
advance from a San Francisco banker with the peculiar name of 
James King of William, who was affiliated with Corcoran & Riggs in 
Washington.*'' He also agreed to give Beale $29,376 when the drafts 
were paid — presumably because Beale was carrying his Indian con- 
tracts east and, with Benton, would lobby for their acceptance, al- 
though there may have been other reasons as well. 

California bankers presented Fremont's "Indian drafts" for collec- 
tion along with those of other contractors who had been paid in simi- 
lar fashion. All were protested by the federal government, an action 
which came as no surprise to Fremont. In fact, such hostility devel- 
oped toward all of the Indian treaties under which the contracts had 
been negotiated that the agreements themselves were never ratified. 
Californians were opposed because they removed such large areas of 

'■* For the May 1851 contracts, see Doc. Nos. 139 and 140. 

*** As governor of California JCF had entered into contracts (involving money 
and cattle) with Eulogio de Celis and Abel Stearns. See Vol. 2, pp. 407-21. 

*' See Doc. No. 161 and "Contract between }. King and Corcoran & Riggs," 
29 July 1854, which mentions the 9 Sept. 1851 advance to JCF (DLC— W. W. 
Corcoran Papers, Lbk, pp. 275-76). W. W. Corcoran came to have a three- 
fourths interest in the sum advanced by King. 


public land from private use and because there was evidence of fraud 
in many of the contracts. One of the few claims allowed was Fre- 
mont's $183,825, which with 10 percent interest from 14 June 1851 
made a total of $242,036.25. This was paid after special appeals and a 
special authorization by Congress in 1854.^^ 

Since many of the debts Fremont had incurred as military com- 
mander and governor of California were still unsettled by the govern- 
ment, one might wonder why he would embark on similar tenuous 
transactions. He and his friends simply hoped to make a great deal of 
money out of the overpriced beef, and they felt they had the necessary 
political influence to guarantee payment from a generous and charita- 
ble Uncle Sam, whose treatment of the Indian was beginning to dis- 
turb the national conscience. At first Fremont was pained that his 
contractual arrangement with one of the commissioners, Oliver M. 
Wozencraft,*'^ went awry, but later was careful to note that his trans- 
action with Barbour was in no way connected with the other two 
commissioners. He could not ignore charges like those of Joel H. 
Brooks, who testified that he was instructed by Savage to take receipts 
for double or even triple the number of cattle actually delivered to the 
tribes and that over 500 head had been delivered to Alexander Godey, 
who sold them to miners or settlers or herded them "elsewhere"; and 
that an additional 800 went to Savage, who used some to feed the 
Indians working for him and others to stock his ranch on the San 
Joaquin.^"* Indeed, Fremont believed that a portion had become the 
"spoil of unfaithful agents trusted by Mr. Barbour," but of this he 

" Following the advice of Montgomery Blair, the Fremont memorial claimed 
not only the actual delivery of the beef but also the absolute necessity of the 
supply to the Indians, the great moral obligation of the United States to furnish 
it, its good effects in pacifying the Indians in the San Joaquin area and saving the 
peace by preventing their incursions to rob or find food, and the low terms upon 
which the beef had been furnished (JBF's printed memorial in Senate Misc. Doc. 
69, 33rd Cong., 1st sess., Serial 705). In the handwriting of JBF, the memorial of 
four California congressmen further maintained: "Throughout all this section, 
extending southward from the Stanislaus river about two hundred and fifty 
miles, and occupied by many tribes of Indians, peace has been uninterrupted 
since the period in question, when they were furnished with food" (J. B. Weller, 
W. M. Gwin, J. McDougall, and M. S. Latham to the chairVnan of the Commit- 
tee on Indian Affairs, House of Representatives, Washington City, 30 June 
[1854], DNA). For the authorization of payment and the payment, see United 
States Statutes, 33rd Cong., 1 sess. (Private Acts); DNA-217, Misc. Treasury Ac- 
counts, Account No. 115-310. 

" See Doc. Nos. 184 and 185. 

*^ Brooks's testimony, 21 Sept. 1852, Senate Ex. Doc. 4, 33rd Cong., Special 
sess., pp. 369-70, Serial 688. 


knew nothing himself, "having immediately left the country." Savage 
had been dead a month when Brooks gave his testimony and could 
not speak in his own defense. Barbour admitted that he had received 
more beef than the Indians were specifically authorized for the year 
1851, but justified the larger amount on the ground that the Indians 
must be placated during the rainy season, from October or November 
until May, lest they commit depredations on the whites during that 


Almost all of those who had or came to have an interest in Fre- 
mont's beef contracts were men close to him: L. D. Vinsonhaler; Al- 
exander Godey and his nephew, Theodore McNabb; Edward E Beale 
and his brother-in-law, Henry B. Edwards; and George W. Wright. 
Fremont had posted surety for Savage and Vinsonhaler in May, and 
for a fee of $1,200 they were licensed on 20 June 1851 to trade with 
the Indians over the entire San Joaquin reservation, which had been 
recently created by treaty.^' Godey and his nephew were in charge of 
the drovers who brought the catde from Los Angeles to Allsbury s 
Ferry at Four Creeks, there to be met by Edwards and Vinsonhaler.*" 
Fremont sought further to both protect and enhance his economic in- 
terests by having Beale, his old and intimate friend, appointed Super- 
intendent of California Indians. His business associate Wright had di- 
rect ties into the banking house of Palmer, Cook & Company. Just 
returned from a mine promotion visit to England, Wright in Novem- 
ber signed a contract with subagent Adam Johnston by which he and 
Fremont would deliver an additional 1,200 head of beef cattle "now 
on the little Mariposa" and 1,000 half-sacks of flour to the tribes of the 
San Joaquin Valley. Just eleven days later Johnston acknowledged de- 
livery and paid with the usual Interior drafts, part of which Wright 
then used to purchase additional cattle required to meet the terms of 
the original agreement. These drafts, too, were protested and became 
the center of controversy, with petitions to Congress urging they 
be honored and others condemning their speculative nature, and a 
round of lawsuits were filed against Fremont, Wright, and the federal 

*' G. W. Barbour to Luke Lea, n.d., ibid., p. 259. 

^ Letter of Adam Johnston, San Joaquin Indian Reservation, Fresno River, 
20 June 1851, printed in ibid., pp. 101-2. 

" Godey's testimony, 24 June 1858, pp. 133-34 in Argenti v. United States 
(CHi— Wright Papers). 

*'* For notice of petitions and cases, see the notes to Doc. Nos. 167 and 235. 
Better than the legal cases, the Wright Papers show rampant speculation. 


The involvement of Palmer, Cook & Company in the beef drafts 
and in various Mariposa mining schemes much disturbed Senator 
Gwin, who urged Palmer to turn his back when Satan presented 
himself in the form of such speculation. "You all know that from the 
first," he wrote, "I have warned you to beware of these Indian drafts 
and quartz speculations and the Mariposa grant which I solemnly be- 
lieve will never be confirmed." He wished they had concentrated all 
their "energies to the business in hand on the 1st August last," when 
he believed they "had not seen one of those cursed Indian Agent 
drafts." ^^ 

Having succeeded in being appointed Superintendent of Indian 
Affairs in California, Edward E Beale was charged, ironically and 
much against his own wishes, with investigating possible fraud in the 
cattle contracts. He did find some irregularities, most of which he 
blamed on Savage."" When Montgomery Blair talked with Beale in 
San Erancisco in the spring of 1854, hoping to gather evidence to bol- 
ster Eremont s claims for payment on the beef contracts, he was sur- 
prised at Beale's ambivalence. "Beale said he would do anything ... I 
would suggest to serve Eremont, consistent with his honor, for the 
sake of Old Bullion [Benton] for whom he was ready to lay down his 
life. As respects Eremont, he was glad he had not met him here &c. 
&c. I was rather discouraged you may suppose by this talk of Ned's & 
altho he said emphatically that Eremont ought to be paid his money 
&c. &c. there was something kept back as if he thought at the same 
time he ought not to receive it." "' 

Many years later a friend of Savage who had also been a member 
of the Mariposa Batallion, which discovered Yosemite Valley, implied 
the existence of a California Indian "ring." He had, he maintained, 
warned Savage that he was surrounded by greedy men "endeavoring 
to use him as a tool to work their gold mine." ^" 

Litigation surrounding the drafts would swirl around the U.S. gov- 
ernment for more than two decades, especially after Congress, by a 
series of enactments (of which the private bill compensating Eremont 
was one), gave legislative recognition to the obligation of government 

*' Gwin to Joseph C. Palmer, "private and confidential," n.d., but probably 
late spring 1852 (M. A. Goodspeed, Jr., Collection). 

'"' Congressional Globe, 6 Aug. 1852, pp. 2103-10; Senate Ex. Doc. 57, 32nd 
Cong., 2nd sess., Serial 665. 

^' Montgomery Blair to Minna Blair, 10 May 1854 (DLC — Blair Papers). 

" BUNNELL, 270-83. 


to provide for the wants of the Indians and an implied ratification of 
the unauthorized acts of their agents. Fremont would ultimately 
make a partial collection on his and Wrights November 1851 contract 
with Johnston but it was a thorny business. 

Even more demanding and more complex were the issues con- 
nected with Las Mariposas. Juan B. Alvarados own title to the ten- 
league grant had been doubtful when he sold it to Fremont in 1847. 
The transfer had lacked departmental approval; nor had Alvarado 
occupied, improved, or even located the boundaries of the property as 
required by Mexican law. In addition, one of the conditions of his 
grant forbade its sale or alienation. For several years, then, there was a 
real question whether Fremont had a valid title to this large, some- 
what vaguely defined "floating" grant that was susceptible of being 
extended into the Mother Lode country. 

At best, the intricacies of mining law are perplexing, the more so 
when, as in California, segments of several existing systems were 
being brought together. Compound the situation with a superimposi- 
tion of many elements: claims and claim jumpers, leases and sub- 
leases, original companies and reorganized companies, sales and re- 
sales of both mineral claims and surface lands, authorized agents and 
unauthorized. Add three decades of time, and the maze of California 
land and mineral claims, often hazy and overlapping, becomes even 
more confusing. 

The first placer strikes had brought a flood of miners into the 
Mariposa area. During part of 1849 Fremont's twenty-eight Sonorans 
washed out about a hundred pounds of gold per month — the equiv- 
alent of $25,000 — half of which went to the explorer. In the autumn 
came the sensational discovery of the rich Mariposa Lode, graphically 
described by Bayard Taylor in Eldorado and by a geologist in October 
as more than five miles long.^^ Early in 1850, when Fremont left 
California to take up his Senate seat, prospects seemed bright indeed: 
specimens returned such rich assays that Fremont estimated that the 
lowest-yielding ore would return more than $16 million a year, based 
on the same quantity of ore crushed in 1849 by the Morro Velho Mine 
in Brazil. All that was needed were men, money, and machinery. To- 
ward this end, Fremont resorted to seven-year leases with almost any- 

^^ New York Daily Tribune, Supplement, 12 Nov. 1849. 



one who would promise to begin work on a vein within six months or 
a year, the lessor to receive the traditional one-sixth of all gold and 
other minerals extracted. 

By the end of July 1850 he had leases with seventeen parties. In 
general, these were "unlocated" or "scramble" leases, which gave the 
recipient the privilege of locating his own mine on ground not already 
occupied by others. Ordinarily grants were for a square of mineral 
land measuring either 200 or 600 feet on each of the four sides. Very 
few of the early leases made directly by Fremont are extant. ^^ The 
amount of mineral land covered by all of these early leases was "about 
3600 yards in length by 200 yards in breadth," Fremont wrote, this in 
a domain of more than 43,000 acres. 

A lease, however, was not a prerequisite for mining gold on the 
Mariposa; hundreds simply invaded the estate and filed claims by 
right of discovery. Palmer, Cook & Company, for example, first en- 
tered as squatters, then received a lease, and by September 1851 
owned an undivided one-half of the estate. 

At the same time that Fremont was leasing at home, Richard Rob- 
ert was convincing him that European capital and mining experts, 
especially the British, could develop the California property. Robert 
had been engaged in commercial and mining pursuits in various parts 
of the world and was familiar with the organization of joint-stock 
companies. When he approached Fremont, he was associated with 
David Hoffman, likewise an American, who was in London promot- 
ing land and immigration companies. A former professor of law at 
the University of Maryland, Hoffman had been casually acquainted 
with Fremont since 1839 when the young explorer visited in Balti- 
more with his mentor, Joseph N. Nicollet. That city's distinguished 
citizens, Brantz and Charles F Mayer, were friends of both Hoffman 
and Fremont and were responsible for introducing Robert to Fremont 
in 1850 and for the business union that resulted between the Califor- 
nia senator and the aging law professor. 

Fremont sent Robert back to London with a power of attorney and 
a letter authorizing him and David Hoffman to grant leases and orga- 
nize mining companies; Charles F Mayer would act as intermediary 
and as Fremont's American solicitor. Initially a large joint-stock enter- 

'"' One is printed as Doc. No. 67 and an incomplete list is given in the appen- 
dix, p. 609. 


prise seems tohave been contemplated, but when Hoffman reported 
that the London market was slow and that it might take as long as a 
year to organize it, the impatient owner of the Mariposa backed off 
and even considered abandoning the entire European effort. Much to 
Hoffman's delight, he decided to continue, but opted for smaller 

Hoffman not only financed his entire agency out of his own pocket 
but also underwrote Robert and his work on the Continent. His per- 
sonal monetary outlay and his unflagging effort to publicize Fremont 
and his property led Hoffman to develop a proprietary attitude to- 
ward the agency and even toward the Mariposa. As a result, he bit- 
terly resented others who sought to hawk their Mariposa leases or to 
compete for capital in Europe. Often their leases called for a lower 
royalty than he asked for Fremont, and he looked upon himself as 
Fremont's "sole representative" abroad. Any lessee wishing to extend 
his seven-year rights as an inducement to investors should work 
through Hoffman, who exacted "a consideration" for his role, a fee 
that would be credited to Fremont, although undoubtedly the Lon- 
don agent hoped to realize an ultimate percentage. 

Among those with whom Hoffman would have difficulties were 
William King Smith, Thomas Denny Sargent, and the two who were 
attempting to float the Agua Fria: George W. Wright and Gen. 
Hiram Walbridge. He reached a quick accommodation with Smith, 
who sold his two "direct leases" from Fremont to the Nouveau Monde 
Mining Company, originally one of Hoffman's blue-ribbon concerns. 
Without knowing the exact relationship between Fremont and Wright, 
Hoffman tried to exercise diplomatic restraint where the Agua Fria 
was concerned, but eventually he attacked the veracity of some of 
Walbridge's advertisements and reported with mingled jealousy and 
suspicion that Wright and Walbridge and their co-workers were un- 
dercutting Fremont by organizing a firm devoted wholly to the inter- 
ests of Palmer, Cook & Company. 

Palmer, Cook & Company had located the Agua Fria under a lease 
from Fremont in September 1850 and now sought to enlist British 
capital in the formation of a company to purchase the property. 
Prominent in assisting Wright and Walbridge in this effort were the 
Englishman Stephen Charles Lakeman and William A. Jackson, 
who was also preparing an elaborate map of the mining district of 
California. Jackson, Wright, Palmer, and the two Cook brothers had 
been old associates in the Mariposa Mining Company, which they and 


seven others had created shortly after the banking firm had obtained 
the Fremont lease/^ 

Wright had already returned to California when the British con- 
cern, the Agua Fria Gold Mining Company, was chartered to develop 
the mine of the same name. Nominally capitalized at £200,000 (subse- 
quently reduced to £100,000 in shares of £1 each), the company was 
typical of the era. Its trustees and directors were well-known English- 
men of wealth and station — the "Guinea Pigs" of corporate organiza- 
tion, so called because they were willing to lend their names to pro- 
motion and to attend board meetings for a nominal fee of a guinea a 
meeting. But behind the scenes their holdings were minimal. Palmer, 
Cook & Company held a full one-third of the allocated shares, while 
Lakeman, Walbridge, and Jackson owned lesser amounts. If periodi- 
cals like Britannia acclaimed the luster of those heading the company, 
they also gave careful attention to more germane matters. The con- 
sulting engineer was a professor of geology at King's College; the 
managing director in California, James Hepburn, was "a Kentish 
landowner, well known for his scientific attainments." Three assays of 
Agua Fria ore had been made: one by the U.S. Mint, one by the Bank 
of England, and one by a private London bullion firm. "The result of 
the three trials is — it is no fairy tale, but simple truth — that the 
quartz ore produces gold of the value of £370 sterling per cwt., and 
therefore £7,000 per ton. Thirty tons have already been raised, and 
await crushing — or upwards of £220,000 worth of ore.' 


" The articles of association of the Mariposa Mining Company, 27 Sept. 1850, 
list the founders: Joseph C. Palmer, Gregory Yale, Charles W. Cook, Rob- 
ert F. R. Allen, Jonathan Walker, Ebenezer Eliason, Barker Burnell, A. D. 
Merrifield, G. W. Wright, John Cook, Jr., William A. Jackson, and Edward 
Jones. It was organized in San Francisco with a capital stock of $1 million in 
2,000 shares worth $500 each. Its primary purpose was to open and work gold- 
bearing quartz veins, but other rocks and ores were not excluded nor did it nec- 
essarily confine its operations to the Mariposa area (Mariposa County Records, 
Book 1, pp. 1-3). 

Jackson's 1851 map of the mining district of California, published by John 

Arrowsmith, was based on his smaller map issued the previous year in New 

York by Lambert & Lane's Lith. Under the title Carte du district aunfere du San 

Joaquin, an undated French edition showed the southern portion of Jackson's 

1850 work (wheat [2], 162). 

There was a public report that the Chilean mill put up by Messrs. Cook & 
Jackson on the big Mariposa vein commenced work in July 1851, crushing about 
500 pounds in twelve hours, really too small an amount to be profitable {Hunt's 
Merchants Magazine and Commercial Review, 27 [July-Dec. 1852]:445-46). 

'" The Britannia, Supplement, 7 Feb. 1852. For official records of the com- 


Meanwhile, Palmer, Cook & Company negotiated an extension of 
time for fulfilling the terms of its 1850 lease, an extension which for 
an additional consideration was passed on to the Agua Fria Company. 
The banking house had also acquired an undivided one-half of the 
Mariposa for one dollar and "other good and valuable considerations" 
not stated in the contract. In time, after Fremont came to London, the 
Agua Fria Company was granted exclusive right to work all of the 
Agua Fria Vein within the bounds of the Mariposa grant, in return 
for which it promised immediate payment to Fremont and Wright of 
£4,656, an additional £1,344 later, and royalties of one-sixth of all min- 
erals found.^^ 

Although Hoffman was convinced that Wright was an important 
and mischievous meddler and responsible for much of the disrepute 
into which Fremont and his estate later fell, it was another rival pro- 
moter, Thomas Denny Sargent, who became the principal target of 
his salvos. A mustachioed Massachusettsan of some thirty-five years, 
and like Wright a fancier of bold schemes, Sargent had received two 
leases from Fremont in the spring of 1850. Assigning a two-thirds 
interest in one of these to Alexander H. Harper and James Eldridge, 
he traveled with them to Mariposa to locate the San Carlos and the 
Santa Maria mines. Subsequently he sailed to Lxjndon to solicit Brit- 
ish capital, boasting, as Wright and Walbridge did of the Agua Fria, 
that his was a located mine whereas Hoffman's were not. Hoffman 
countered that an unlocated lease was preferable, since selection could 
be made by an experienced mining engineer after a careful examina- 
tion of the veins. In June 1851 Sargent left suddenly for the United 
States to complete negotiations for the reacquisition of the interests of 
Eldridge and the now-deceased Harper, so his solicitor, John Duncan, 
later informed Fremont. 

pany, see British Registrar of Companies Archive, Hayes, Middlesex (Papers 
of the Agua Fria Gold Mining Company), Film Z-61, Reel 58 (CU-B). See also 
two signed documents in the Fremont Papers (CU-B). One, dated 16 April 1852, 
is his grant (with George W. Wright) to the Agua Fria Gold Mining Company 
of the exclusive right to work the Agua Fria Vein in the Mariposa estate. The 
second, dated 17 April 1852, is the deed of contract with the Agua Fria Gold 
Mining Company relative to the amount of royalty payable under lease and min- 
ing license. 

'''' The extension of Palmer, Cook & Company's Agua Fria s lease is dated 1 1 
Sept. 1851 and is mentioned in the 16 April 1852 document cited above. Palmer, 
Cook & Company's second lease to the British company is dated 29 Jan. 1852. 



Before long, Hoffman received a letter from Thomas Hart Benton, 
informing him that J. Eugene Flandin, a former agent of Fremont on 
the Mariposa, had been authorized to sell one-half of Las Mariposas 
and that he — Benton — had recommended that Fremont sell the 
whole, "for he is not adapted to such business and it interferes with 
his attention to other business to which he is adapted." The "other 
business" was probably politics. Next came a letter from Flandin in- 
forming Hoffman that a conditional sale of the Mariposa had been 
made and advising a stay of leasing. On 12 July Benton notified the 
London agent that the purchaser was a "Mr. Sergeant," who would 
soon be back in England to raise the advance payment of $100,000, if 
Fremont ratified the transaction. 

Hoffman found the news incredible. Was not Fremont breaking 
faith with him and with the British lessees? How could Flandin sell 
the entire estate when he was authorized to sell only half? He consid- 
ered Benton and Flandin's suggestions to stop leasing as merely ad- 
visory, since only Fremont could curtail or broaden his powers. These 
thoughts, reflected in his letters of fear and inquiry, brought an am- 
bivalent response from Fremont, who intimated that a sale was con- 
templated, but requested that a notice be published in the London 
Times warning against sales, leases, or any other transactions pertain- 
ing to the Mariposa except with Benton or Hoffman. Hoffman placed 
the notice but by signing himself Fremont's "sole representative in Eu- 
rope" managed to shake the confidence of investors in the Agua Fria 
and in Sargent's West Mariposa Gold Quartz Mining Company. Per- 
sistent rumors of impending sale, uncertainty about leasing authority, 
and news of the failure of the Stockton and Aspinwall mine on the 
Mariposa combined to make lessees nervous, and they insisted that 
money and shares due Fremont be deposited in a bank with Hoffman 
as "trustee" until the actual selection of locations had been made and 
Fremont's formal approval obtained. 

Hoffman insisted that he could sell the estate for five or even ten 
times Sargent's price. When the London Globe carried an extract 
from a Benton letter terming the Hoffman leases since 7 July "not 
only void, but fraudulent," Hoffman screamed "libel" and threatened 
to sue. Late in December 1851 he had published a notice of suspen- 
sion of his own leasing powers, but insisted that all his leasing con- 
tracts to that time were valid. On the same day he issued a sixty-three- 
page pamphlet which analyzed various documents to indicate that no 
sale to Sargent had taken place, that Benton had no legal power to 


conclude such a transaction, and that his own authority from Fremont 
had been complete. 

Nonetheless, across the Atlantic Benton was preparing to complete 
arrangements with Sargent, although Fremont had reportedly urged 
him not to do so "if he can get off honorably," advice Old Bullion 
shrugged off. On 15 January 1852 Fremont wrote Hoffman that he 
was coming to London and that he had made every effort to halt the 
sale of Las Mariposas. Two weeks later Benton concluded the million- 
dollar transaction, with the proviso that Fremont might annul the 
contract within fifteen days after Sargent's agent asked for possession 
of the property. Twenty-five thousand dollars were to be paid in cash, 
another $75,000 in London once Fremont's confirmation was ob- 
tained. Then a deed to the inchoate title to the estate was to pass to 
Sargent, whose mortgage on the property Fremont would receive, 
with annual payments to follow and the final settlement due one year 
after the delivery of a perfect title. 

Before leaving for England, Sargent started his agent, Gwinn Har- 
ris Heap, to California to take possession. Heap was thoroughly ac- 
quainted with Las Mariposas: he had been Fremont's agent there in 
the summer of 1850 and had opened the mineral vein that came to 
bear his name. At the Isthmus Heap met the Fremonts, who were en 
route to Britain. At that time Fremont may have denounced the sale; 
in any case. Heap turned back, traveling to New York with them. 

In New York Fremont conferred with Wright at the Irving House. 
He telegraphed Charles F Mayer that he did not confirm the sale and 
sent a friend immediately to reassure Hoffman that the Mariposa re- 
mained unsold. Without seeing Benton, who was in Missouri, Fre- 
mont, his family, Wright, and Heap all embarked for England in the 
Africa, arriving 22 March. Hoffman wrote an enthusiastic letter of 
welcome, in which he urged Fremont to set aside several days for 
business discussion with him. But the explorer ignored the old man 
who had labored so industriously on his behalf for more than two 
years and who had looked forward with eagerness to this visit. 
Through Wright, Fremont made it clear that the Agua Fria was to 
have priority on the British market. Hoffman was both surprised and 
hurt and was convinced that rumors and innuendo had poisoned Fre- 
mont's mind against him. On their part, the Fremonts had been alien- 
ated by his prolific writings and felt that the Mariposa and those 
involved in its affairs had been thrust too much in the public eye. 

sometimes in an unsavory light. Jessie especially disliked the attacks 
on her father. 

In London she had anticipated acceptance into court society, and 
her hopes were not disappointed. Dressed in pink satin, lace, and 
pearls, she was thrilled and delighted when she was presented to 
Queen Victoria. With her husband, she was swept up in a pleasant 
round of teas and dinners at important London houses and with figures 
like Joshua Bates, an American connected with the Barings, and Sir 
Roderick Murchison, president of the Royal Geographical Society.'** 

But the splendor was tainted by humiliation. Thomas Sargent filed 
a bill of complaint against Fremont in the British Chancery on 27 
March for repudiation of the Mariposa sale. A few days later, as the 
explorer stepped into a carriage to attend a dinner with Jessie, he was 
arrested for nonpayment of drafts he had drawn upon the Secretary 
of State when governor of California, drafts that had subsequently 
passed into the hands of Anthony Gibbs and Sons, who now instituted 
the charges. While Jessie frantically sought bail money — ironically, 
from Hoffman — Fremont spent the night in Slomans Lock-up on 
Cursitor Street, Chancery Lane. In the end the American investment 
banker George Peabody and his junior partner came to the financial 
rescue. Soon Fremont wrote Benton, asking help in obtaining an ap- 
pointment as charge to some neighboring power "to protect me from 
further arrests & to help pay expenses." By the end of April he had 
taken up residence in Paris, occasionally slipping back across the 
Channel to conduct business or to attend social affairs, including the 
elaborate dinner for a hundred guests that George Peabody held to 
celebrate the anniversary of Bunker Hill at the Brunswick Hotel in 
Blackwell, overlooking the Thames.^' 

Fremont publicly advertised that he was ready to carry into effect 
all contracts made by Hoffman prior to 20 December 1851, but little 
activity resulted. Of the twenty-one companies Hoffman claimed to 
have organized, only three — Le Nouveau Monde, the Quartz Rock 
Mariposa Gold Mining Company, and Les Mineurs Beiges — actually 
sent men and equipment to the Mariposa. Andrew Smith, lessee and 
engineer of the Golden Mountain, also went. Hoffman's sense of be- 
trayal deepened when Fremont became a party to the 16 April 1852 

^* J. B. FREMONT [2] Contains chapters on their Hfe in London and Paris. 
'' PARKER, 1:281-82,277-78. 


indenture, noted earlier, by which Palmer, Cook & Company sold 
their original lease to the Agua Fria Mining Company. 

Thus relations between the Mariposa owner and his agent steadily 
disintegrated. When Fremont and his London attorney requested the 
papers and accounts of the agency, Hoffman refused to relinquish 
them, in part because he had been paid nothing for his outlays and 
services, and in part because he believed that Fremont wanted the rec- 
ords in order to find petty flaws by which to break the contracts al- 
ready concluded. Losing patience, Fremont soon filed suit to obtain 
the materials as well as money that he insisted Hoffman had received 
on his behalf. Although Hoffman, too, hired solicitors, he hoped for 
an out-of-court settlement to avoid the heavy expense and long delays 
of litigation. Repeatedly negotiations broke down. Hoffman barely es- 
caped arrest and in June 1853 the Vice Chancellor's Court ordered 
him to surrender the agency papers to Fremont, who seems never to 
have compensated him or his widow for his services or expenditures.^" 

While his case against Hoffman and the Gibbs draft suit were 
grinding through the judicial machinery, Fremont had the help of the 
distinguished French astronomer Francois Arago in selecting the 
finest surveying instruments money could buy. Another exploring ex- 
pedition was on the horizon. 

In March a letter from Benton indicated that Congress had autho- 
rized surveys of the principal routes to the Pacific to determine the 
most practical and economical route for a railroad. Benton urged Fre- 
mont to return and to ask for a place on the survey of the central 
region between the 38th and 39th parallels. Indeed, the Missouri sena- 
tor went so far as to suggest to Secretary of War Jefferson Davis that 
Fremont and Edward F Beale be given joint command of that partic- 
ular survey. Having elected to return overland to his California Indian 
superintendency, Beale would be able to enter upon his duties imme- 
diately. Since Fremont had already surveyed both ends of the pro- 
jected route, only the area from the mouth of the Huerfano River on 
the upper Arkansas to the Mormon settlements near Little Salt Lake 
and the Vegas de Santa Clara, including Cochetopa Pass, needed spe- 
cial investigation. 

*' See Vice-Chancellor's Courts, Fremont v. Hoffman, London Times, 6 June 
1853. See spence for an account of Mrs. Hoffman's suit in the New York Su- 
preme Court in 1856 to recover $40,000 from Fremont. 


But Secretary Davis was deaf to Benton's special pleading and ap- 
pointed Captain John W. Gunnison to command the official expedi- 
tion. Before that group could leave the Missouri frontier, Beale and his 
cousin, Gwinn Harris Heap, now returned from England, headed 
west from Westport Landing with a small party on 10 May 1853. 
Their letters and journals, sent back to Benton, were published in the 
newspapers and further publicized the middle route, as did Heap's 
more formal account of the expedition printed the following year in 
Philadelphia under the tide Central Route to the Pacific, from the Valley 
of the Mississippi to California. 

That same spring saw Fremont clean up his affairs in London. The 
Gibbs case was decided on 6 May in the plaintiff's favor and the ex- 
plorer was finally released from bail.*' Crossing the Channel to con- 
sult once more with his attorneys, he borrowed £13,000 from Ste- 
phen C. Lakeman, securing it by a mortgage on all of his one-half 
interest in Las Mariposas.*" Then he sailed for the United States 
from Liverpool, leaving Jessie and the three children to follow from 
Le Havre on the Arago with his niece, Nina, and two French ser- 
vants.*^ The family took a house near Benton's, but heat and the 
illness of the baby caused Jessie to seek relief at the Francis Blair estate 
at Silver Spring, just outside Washington. On 12 July sorrow visited 
again when the infant died suddenly in her arms, as had little Benton 
five years before. 

Fremont spent the summer giving additional explanations to the 
board examining the California claims, wrestling with Mariposa busi- 
ness affairs, and preparing for what would be his fifth expedition. 
The latter, according to the press, was to be made without the finan- 
cial aid of the government to test the practicality of the central route 
during the snowy season. Benton may have contributed funds, but 
observers noted a coolness between him and the explorer. The senator 
no doubt remembered the cancellation of the sale to Sargent, but other 
reasons may have contributed to his aloofness — possibly a growing 

" Senate Ex. Doc. 109, 34th Cong., 1st sess., Serial 825. On 3 March 1853 
Congress had approved an act for the relief of Fremont. See Laws of the United 
States, 10:759. 

*^ Indenture between Stephen C. Lakeman, 3 June 1853, Mariposa County 
Records, Book A of Deeds, pp. 254-59. 

*^ P. 76 of Jessie B. Fremont's unpublished memoirs (CU-B). 


mistrust of Fremont's judgment, a feeling Jessie thought her brother- 
in-law, Jones, had encouraged/'' 

Late in August in New York, Fremont met Wright and Palmer, 
who clearly saw that new laurels for the explorer might benefit them 
all economically and politically, though they were not unconcerned 
about the physical hazards of the proposed venture. Perhaps this was 
one consideration in sending Palmers brother, William H., on the ex- 
pedition, while the two bankers returned to California by sea. 

Also in New York Fremont made arrangements with Solomon 
Nunes Carvalho to accompany him as artist and daguerreotypist. 
Whether he or Carvalho paid for the camera and supplies is not clear, 
but all the daguerreotypes were to belong to Fremont, who probably 
forbade the artist to keep a journal of the expedition. Like Isaac 
Cooper in 1845, James F. Milligan, a young Saint Louisan who trav- 
eled with the expedition as far as Bent's Fort, wrote about the prohibi- 
tion on journals and public communications: 

Col. Fremont at supper informed us that during his illness in St. 
Louis that he had seen communications from some gentleman in the 
camp to the newspapers. 1 informed him that 1 was that individual. He 
requested me not to again do it as it was never customary in any of his 
former expeditions for any person but him, and also that to give up all 
journals that he would not allow one being kept by any person of the 
expedition. Mr. Fuller complyed [sic] with this exceedingly modest re- 
quest but I did not. The sequel of this selfish demand of the Col. remains 
to be seen.^' 

When Carvalho returned from California, the editor of the Pho- 
tographic Art Journal, H. H. Snelling, requested information about his 
experiences on the fifth expedition, but Carvalho replied: "I am very 
sorry I am unable to respond to your request for the particulars of my 
tour with Colonel Fremont, in his late Exploring expedition across 
the mountains, not having taken any private notes. But this much I 
am at liberty to say that I succeeded beyond my utmost expectations 
in producing good results and effects by the Daguerreotype." "^^ 

Carvalho was then reportedly quite critical of his former leader. 

^ Montgomery Blair to Minna Blair, San Francisco, 10 May 1854 (DLC- 
Blair Papers); JBF to Elizabeth Blair Lee, 8 March and 18 April [1856?] (NjP- 
Blair-Lee Papers). 

*' Unpublished diary of James E Milligan, courtesy of David H. Miller. 

^ Printed in sturhahn, 124-25. 



but Fremont's nomination for the presidency brought a rapid change 
of attitude and ardent support for the Republican ticket. Carvalho's 
nephew noted his uncles economic aspirations: "He says if Fremont is 
elected he will have the office of Collector of the Port of Baltimore, or 
anything else he wants." '^^ When John Bigelow collected the materi- 
als for his campaign biography of Fremont, it was Carvalho who pro- 
vided — undoubtedly with the explorers permission — information 
about the journey, reconstructing the details from "letters," he main- 
tained, but perhaps in actuality from a journal he may have kept se- 
cretly. A few months later his own book. Incidents of Travel and Ad- 
venture in the Far West; with Col. Fremont's Last Expedition . . ., was 
released, first in England, then in the United States.**^ In it the Bige- 
low account was incorporated without significant change, except for 
the addition of laudatory comments about Fremont. Added also, as 
"an exact copy" from the Carvalho diary, was a description of the art- 
ist's own travel from Salt Lake City to San Bernardino, together with 
views on Mormonism. 

Why Fremont did not give Bigelow access to his own journal is a 
mystery; perhaps his contract with publisher George W Childs pro- 
hibited it.*^ It appears to be permanently lost save for the two en- 
tries printed in the Memoirs and included here as Doc. No. 262. Iron- 
ically, Carvalho's illustrations embellish Fremont's Memoirs but do not 
appear in his own book, which remains the principal account of the 
fifth expedition. 

Unlike earlier occasions, Jessie did not accompany her husband to 
the frontier in 1853 when the group was assembling, but when the 
telegraph brought word of his illness — "neuralgic sciatica," Benton 
told the public — she rushed to his side at St. Louis, where Dr. Ebers 
was soothing the pain, eradicating the inflammation, and literally get- 
ting Fremont "on his legs." No doubt she was relieved when Ebers 
agreed to accompany the expedition, but her husband made it known 
he did "not quite like its being said that he carries a Homeopathetic 
physician with him.'""^' 

Fremont rejoined the main party camped on the Saline Fork of the 


Jacob S. Ritterband to a cousin, 11 Sept. 1856, printed in korn, 37-38. 
See Doc. No. 261 for the commentary on its publication. 
See Vol. 1, pp. xxxiii-xxxiv. 

JBF to Elizabeth Blair Lee, St. Louis, 14 Oct. |1853] (NjP— Blair-Lee 


Kansas on 31 October. Included were twenty -two members, of whom 
ten were Delaware Indians and two were Mexican. Moving out 
through buffalo country, the expedition would spend a week resting 
and reprovisioning at William Bent's new fort near Big Timbers be- 
fore moving up the Arkansas to the mouth of the Huerfano at the 
end of November, leaving the physician and another member behind. 
The Huerfano would be followed into the mountains, but at one 
point Carvalho and Fremont temporarily left the main party to exam- 
ine Robidoux Pass, although the expedition would use a more north- 
ern defile — present-day Medano Pass — to cross the Sangre de Cristo 
Range into the San Luis Valley. 

Neither Carvalho's journal nor Fremont's communications to news- 
papers after the completion of the expedition are very specific about 
the route; nor is the tracing on the Memoirs map complete or entirely 
in accordance with the extant documents. Fortunately for posterity 
and for Fremont, too, he connected up in the San Luis Valley with the 
trail made by Captain Gunnison and his large party a few months 
earlier. Since trees felled to clear a path for Gunnison's wagons plainly 
marked the way, the explorer was able to follow the route easily, even 
with snow on the ground. 

Like Gunnison, Fremont crossed the valley, led his men up the 
gradually ascending Saguache Creek to North Cochetopa Pass, then 
worked westward to reach the little Mormon town of Parowan, sixty 
miles from the Nevada line. Carvalho chronicles vividly their suffer- 
ings as they doggedly pushed through a wintery wilderness, some- 
times in raging snowstorms, sometimes in temperatures thirty degrees 
below zero, sometimes reduced to a diet of porcupine, coyote, and 
cactus leaves from which the spines had been burned. While the party 
was attempting to avoid the deep chasm of the Gunnison River, the 
lead mule slipped on an icy mountain slope and tumbled heels over 
head, carrying fifty others with him several hundred feet to the bot- 
tom; fortunately only one was killed. As they entered the Parowan 
Valley, one man died. Little wonder that the Daily San Joaquin Repub- 
lican noted wryly that in his fourth and fifth expeditions, Fremont 
had "enjoyed more suffering and privation in surmounting natures 
protest against" the central railroad route than all other expeditions 
combined over the previous seven years.'' 

Daily San Joaquin Republican, 7 July 1854. 


When Almon W. Babbitt brought to Washington the letters Fre- 
mont had given him in Parowan, Benton saw "Failure" looming be- 
hind the written assurances of "general good health" and "reasonable 
success." The harshness with which he told his anxious and over- 
wrought daughter of her husband s safety reflected Benton's own dis- 
appointment and bitterness. To the National Intelligencer, however, he 
sent the most optimistic of reports. Grateful for word from the expe- 
dition, Jessie arranged a dinner party. In her invitation to Frank Pres- 
ton Blair, Sr., and his son-in-law she requested that they forget that 
Babbitt "has lots of wives [which he did not] and look upon him only 
as I do in his last character as friend & banker to Mr. Fremont."'*' 

Parowan was a break in the expeditions work. By 21 February, 
without the services of Carvalho and several others, the party was on 
the move again, although rumors of desertion reached San Francisco 
and caused Palmer no little anxiety. When they also found their way 
into the National Intelligencer, Benton issued a heated denial: "No 
man ever deserted him. His men die with him, as for him, but never 
desert." "^^ 

The route from Parowan was "a little south of West," or roughly 
across central Nevada, with his trail and the tracks of the Death Valley 
Forty-niners alternately merging and diverging several times before 
Fremont reached California. An early report had him crossing the 
Sierra Nevada near the head of the Merced River, a parallel of Jo- 
seph R. Walker's northern penetration of 1833; ^"^ in reality, he tra- 
versed the mountains below the 36th parallel, probably at Bird Spring 
Pass or Walker's southern pass.'^ 

An aura of mystery surrounds the fifth expedition. Fremont was 
never explicit; he promised details but gave none. According to the 
Los Angeles Star, he "remained two days between the Kern and the 
Tule Rivers; and when visited by some settlers on Tule River and 
asked why he did not come into the settlements, he evasively an- 
swered that he was out of funds, and though he was in need of provi- 
sions, he knew he could get none without money." Fremont was never 

'^ Undated invitation (NjP — Blair-Lee Papers). 

'' Letter of Benton, printed in Daily Missouri Democrat, 31 May 1854. 
''' Daily Alta California, 17 April 1854; farquahar, 6-7. 
'^ See Doc. Nos. 269 and 274 for the contradiction in his reports and histo- 
rians' interpretations. 


known to be averse to credit. The Star maintained it had "some items 
of interest concerning the expedition," but never gave them.'**' Jessie 
wrote that Judge George Belt and another CaHfornian named Stone 
offered hospitality and money and that Belt invited him to his ranch 
where he and his party might recuperate."" For some reason, perhaps 
because of the beef contracts to feed the Indians, Edward Beale was 
glad to have arrived in San Francisco after Fremont had left for home."*** 

Fremont's stay in California was brief He left his Delawares camped 
on a ranch near Stockton while he went to San Francisco, arriving 
there on a Sunday evening, 16 April. Montgomery Blair remarked 
that he was staying with Palmer and that he was "as fat as a buck. So 
much so, that his clothes seem too tight for him," and that he made 
"no account of his hardships." Blair would see much of him during 
his short visit and helped put his affairs "in some sort of shape." On 
23 April the explorer returned to Stockton for his Delaware Indians 
and a week later, having borrowed money "to get away" and having 
declined a public dinner tendered by the Society of California Pioneers, 
he took passage for Panama on the Nicaraguan steamer Cortes.''^ 

He arrived in New York on 25 May 1854, about a week after Jessie 
had given birth to another son, Frank Preston, and soon his accom- 
plishments were being lauded by his father-in-law. "The return of 
Mr. Fremont, (perfectly successful in his winter expeditions) embold- 
ens all the friends of the central route, and shows that nature has pre- 
pared that route in every particular for the great national highway 
between the Mississippi River and the Bay of San Francisco," wrote 
Benton in an open letter to his constituents.'"" In June Fremont made 
a report of his expedition to the National Intelligencer, an adventure 
which the Daily Missouri Democrat hailed as setding "the question of 
the excellence, the superiority, the pre-eminent advantage of the Cen- 
tral route, over all the routes to the Pacific." '"' 

'* Los Angeles Star as printed in Alta California, 15 July 1854. 

'^ Printed prospectus for JCF's Memoirs of My Life, xi (CSnnH). 

'* Montgomery Blair to Minna Blair, 10 May 1854 (DLC— Blair Papers). 

"^ Montgomery Blair to Minna Blair, 17 and 18 April, 25 May, 13 June 1854 
(DLC — Blair Papers); Daily San Joaquin Republican, 24 April and 1 May 1854; 
Daily Alta California, 1 and 2 May 1854. 

'*' National Intelligencer, 11 May 1854; letter of Benton, 30 May 1854, printed 
in Daily Missouri Democrat, 9 June 1854. 

"" Daily Missouri Democrat, 26 June 1854. 


Late in August, when Fremont again left Washington for CaHfor- 
nia, the National Intelligencer reported that he went to fix astronom- 
ically the position of the crossing he had discovered the previous 
spring, reputedly "north of the Walker and Tejon passes."'"" In real- 
ity, it was not scientific exploration but Las Mariposas and other busi- 
ness affairs that called him back to the Pacific Coast. 

Las Mariposas had been the first case taken up by the California 
land commissioners under the Land Act of 1851.'"^ They were sitting 
in San Francisco in January 1852 when they received Fremont's peti- 
tion for a confirmation of his title from Alvarado. With his petition, 
he submitted a rough sketch of the area bounded by the Sierra Ne- 
vada and the rivers Chowchilla, Merced, and San Joaquin within 
which Alvarado had been given the privilege of locating his grant of 
ten Spanish leagues (approximately 44,000 acres). The approximate 
boundaries had allegedly been given to him by Alvarado in 1849 and 
were known as the Pico-Gulnack diseno, although it had probably 
been prepared by Fremont's cartographer, Charles Preuss. Marked in 
red lines on the map was the land Fremont wished to have patented 
as Las Mariposas. Shortly before he sailed for Europe, the commis- 
sioners accepted a motion of his attorneys and ordered the Surveyor 
General of California to make a preliminary survey of the grant, at 
the claimant's expense, as was customary. Allexey W. Von Schmidt 
ran the survey and followed very closely the petitioner's wishes, that is, 
the red lines sketched on the Pico-Gulnack diseno. The result was a 
pan-handle-shaped claim and map embracing the whole watershed of 
the Mariposa River, the gold mines near Mariposa and Agua Frio, 
and a good slice of the grazing and farming lands in the San Joaquin 
Valley. By 1856, when Fremont's economic interest had changed, the 
tx)undaries of the grant described in his patent would be considerably 
different from those depicted by the Von Schmidt map.' 


'"^ National Intelligencer, 26 Aug. 1854. 

'°^ Many of the documents and testimony relating to Las Mariposas are 
printed in Supreme Court Case No. 3338, U.S. v. John C. Fremont, DNA-267; a 
fuller record of the proceedings, but largely handwritten, is in DNA-49, Califor- 
nia Private Land Claims Dockets, Docket No. 1. The latter includes not only the 
judicial records but also the protests of the Mariposans, some of the correspon- 
dence of the claimants' attorneys, the Secretary of the Interior and the Attorney 
General, and JCF's printed memorial to President Franklin Pierce. 

"^ In 1983 the original Von Schmidt 1852 survey map was owned by Louis 
Milburn of Mariposa, Calif. 


When the commission began examining the documents relating to 
the title and sale of Las Mariposas, Fremont was in Europe, his move- 
ments circumscribed by his legal difficulties, but he had the counsel of 
the brilliant attorney Rufus A. Lockwood and the support of many 
sympathizers, including William Carey Jones and George W Wright, 
who undoubtedly returned from England for the specific purpose of 
giving testimony."^' Wright admitted that he had been a lessee un- 
der Fremont in 1850 but had assigned his interest in 1851. He proba- 
bly committed perjury when he swore that he had "no interest, pres- 
ent or contingent, in the result of the case." '"^ 

The commission confirmed title to Fremont on 27 December and 
in a lengthy opinion addressed objections to the claim of Juan B. Al- 
varado, who had sold the property to Fremont. If there was no evi- 
dence that the Departmental Assembly had approved Governor Man- 
uel Micheltorena's original grant to Alvarado, the commission found 
no evidence that it had not; in any event, equity, usages, and customs 
and the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo protected his title. The prohibi- 
tion on Alvarado's disposal of the property was ruled invalid, in- 
asmuch as the whole tenor of Mexican legislation was historically op- 
posed to any restriction against alienation. Objection to the sale to 
Fremont on the ground that he was not a Mexican citizen was irrele- 
vant because the transfer was made after the full sovereignty of the 
United States had been established. Alvarado's failure to build a house 
upon the tract within a year did not bring forefeiture, but merely 
made it subject to denouncement, which had never been done. His 
failure, too, to measure out ten leagues did not bar title, since the 
larger tract had been temporarily separated from the public domain 
until actual selection of the smaller grant could be made. The right of 
selection was thus incident to the grant. The commissioners gave 
scant attention to the argument that mineral rights on the property be 
reserved to the U.S. government. The Mexican government had not 
reserved the mines on the estate, hence had transferred only a general 
power of sovereignty to the United States, not a proprietary interest. 
Moreover, the Land Act of 1851 had not empowered the commission to 
protect any interest the government may have had in mineral lands 


'"' Lockwood's written agreement for confirmation is MS 1289/2 in CHi. 

"** See Doc. No. 160 for JCF's 5 Sept. 1851 deed of an undivided half-interest 
in Las Mariposas to Palmer, Cook & Company. Wright's testimony is pp. 55-56 
in Supreme Court Case No. 3338, DNA-267. 

'"^ For the opinion of the Board of Land Commissioners, see ibid., 9-34. 


Confirmation of title failed to bring the foreign investment Fre- 
mont had anticipated. No doubt the London scenario involving Hoff- 
man, Sargent, and the supporters of the Agua Frio had evoked dis- 
trust and wariness about risking capital in the stock of companies 
intending to operate on the Mariposa. Further doubts were raised in 
mid- August 1853, while Fremont prepared for his fifth expedition, 
when the Attorney General of the United States, Caleb Cushing, 
served notice that the commissioners' decision would be appealed to 
the District Court for the Northern District of California. Additional 
testimony was taken and in January 1854, while Fremont was slog- 
ging through the winter storms of Colorado, Judge Ogden Hoffman 
reversed the Land Commissions opinion, holding that because Al- 
varado had not met the conditions of his grant, the claim had no legal 
basis.'"* Palmer thought that attorney Volney E. Howard, then 
managing the case, was an inept lawyer, but Montgomery Blair was 
convinced that the explorer would have lost anyway before Hoffman, 
whom he saw as "a violent partizan and unfriendly to Fremont, Ben- 
ton & that whole political connection." '"'* 

Fremont immediately appealed the case to the U.S. Supreme Court, 
where it came up for a hearing during the December 1854 term. 
Montgomery Blair had been able to add to the legal services of Wil- 
liam Carey Jones, those of the venerable George M. Bibb and John J. 
Crittenden, former senator and Attorney General."" Together they 
were able to convince a majority of the Court of the validity of the 
floating grant to Alvarado — and thus to Fremont — and a precedent 
was established that for a time prevailed in confirming other ques- 
tionable titles in California. Chief Justice Roger Taney, an old friend 

'"« /^/^., 60-109. 

"" Montgomery Blair to Minna Blair, 9 April 1854 (DLC— Blair Papers). 

"" See DLC — John Jordan Crittenden Papers, especially letters of Montgom- 
ery Blair to J. J. Crittenden, 8 and 18 May 1855, referring to the fee due Crit- 
tenden "as counsel for Fremont." Present in the collection are a five-page state- 
ment of Fremont's case and a seventy-eight page brief. Crittenden was still 
trying to collect fees in 1861. Fremont insisted they had been paid; the sons were 
unconvinced and, after the death of their father, pressed the claim. Thomas 
wrote that the matter could be adjusted by arbitration or suit; Robert proposed 
squaring the account by arbitration or a duel (E. L. Fancher to T. L. Crittenden, 
24 Dec. 1861; T. L. Crittenden to Fremont, 28 Dec. 1864; and R. H. Crittenden 
to E. L. Fancher, 29 Dec. 1864). Montgomery Blair also had difficulty collecting. 
In a letter to Col. Leonidas Haskell, 1 1 Aug. 1863, he details ten years of service 
and influence dn JCF's behalf and expressed a willingness to settle for the small 
sum of $3,000 (DLC— Blair Papers). 


of Benton's, read the decision on 10 March 1855 and ordered the land 
"surveyed in the form and divisions prescribed by law for Surveys in 
California, and in one entire tract." When the case was returned to 
the California District Court, Fremont's lawyers moved for an excep- 
tion on the survey, arguing that that confirmation of the claim should 
be in general terms, with location of the land to be left to the Surveyor 
General without any instructions. 

The survey now became the all-important question. Conceivably it 
might be entirely different from the earlier tract marked out by Fre- 
mont and surveyed by Von Schmidt in 1852. It might even disregard 
his mining interests and locate on vacant lands, as the U.S. Attorney 
and many Mariposans wished. In denying the plea for an unin- 
structed survey, Judges Hall McAllister and Ogden Hoffman tacitly 
agreed that the district court had no power to restrict the survey to 
vacant lands, even if it interfered with the rights of third parties. This 
decision on 27 June 1855 prompted the U.S. Attorney to move for 
appeal, which was granted a month later, but by then the Mariposa 
survey had taken place. 

Even before the final decree of the district court, Fremont and his 
associates had begun making plans for the survey. George Wright 
wrote about the project to Joshua E. Clayton, the engineer whom he 
had sent to the Mariposa to map out a water canal and who would 
shortly become manager of the property. "The Col.," he noted, "will 
put our friend on to the Survey and will probably look to you for all 
his help, he paying for all except yourself and Jonathan [Wright]."'" 
"The Col." was probably the Surveyor General of California, John C. 
"Jack" Hays, of Texas Ranger fame, although possibly it was his chief 
clerk. Col. Leander Ransom, who would accompany Horace Higley 
and counsel with him on the mode and manner of conducting the 
actual survey. Fremont was not on the Mariposa or even in the state at 
the time, but Wright had been on the grant in June either before or 
after he wrote Clayton, 

The survey — a clandestine one, opponents charged — took place 

'" George W. Wright to Joshua E. Clayton, 16 June 1855 (M. A. Goodspeed, 
Jr., Collection). One of the items in Clayton's 28 May 1856 bill to Palmer, Cook & 
Company was "$1,500 for 5 months active service making selection for location 
of Mariposa grant and prelim ditch surveys" (CtY — Clayton Papers). The sur- 
vey party consisted of Horace Higley, Leander Ransom, Clayton (not really 
an official member), Twichel, two chainmen, and a Mexican by the name of 


between 1 and 15 July. The plat of the survey was certified on 31 July, 
but since the governments appeal was pending, it could not be a final 
certification nor could a patent be issued. Fremont was impatient and 
appealed to President Pierce to stop the interminable delay. The chief 
executive was sympathetic and asked for all the documents relating to 
the case. While they were on his desk, the U.S. Supreme Court con- 
sidered the Mariposa case once more and decided to dismiss the ap- 
peal because the governments attorney had failed to file the record 
and docket the cause within the first six days of the term. It issued a 
writ of procedendo to the district court and two days later — 19 Feb- 
ruary 1856 — Fremont visited the White House and was handed the 
letters patent to Las Mariposas by President Pierce, who had also per- 
sonally signed them."" The special treatment was undoubtedly a 
recognition of the fact that Fremont might well be a presidential 
nominee, but Palmer, Cook & Company's enormous stake in the pa- 
tent was recognized by John W Dwindle, who wrote to Wright: "I 
congratulate you that you have succeeded in getting the Fremont pa- 
tent into your possession. . . ." However, in March 1856, before the 
firm went bankrupt, it released to Fremont all of its interest in Las 

The boundaries of the patented Mariposas were quite different 
from those marked out by Fremont in 1849 and by Von Schmidt in 
1852. The main portion of that survey was retained, but the surveyors, 
conscious of the necessity for a compact form, cut off the long handle 
that had extended thirty miles down and along both sides of the 
Mariposa River to a width of about one and one-quarter miles. Own- 
ers of land on either side of the elongated claim would have been 
denied access to the stream. To compensate, the upper part of Bear 
Creek Valley was included. The whole tract measured 44,386.83 acres 
and in addition to the town of Mariposa included Frenchtown and 
Mormon Bar in the valley of the Mariposas; Simpsonville, Oso, and 
Mount Ophir in the Great Bear Valley; Princeton, Upper Agua Fria, 
Lower Auga Fria, and Carson ville in the valley of Agua Fria Creek; 
and Bridgeport, Guadalupe, and the Chinese settlement of Canton in 
the Guadalupe Valley. Running through the new area of the Bear 

"^ New York HeraU, 24 Feb. 1856. 

'" John W. Dwinelle to G. W. Wright, Rochester, N.Y., 23 Feb. 1856 (M. A. 
Goodspeed, Jr., Collection); Palmer, Cook & Company to Fremont, Indenture, 
28 March 1856, Vol. C of Deeds, pp. 94-96, Mariposa County Court House. 


< ' J ■•! N t i|«';v 

« >» % «» \ 

I » I ( T V CM >M KJ 

Allexey W. Von Schmidt's survey of the Mariposa Estate, 185 




Courtesy of Louis T. Milburn, Mariposa, California. 





t i 

a: - 









4— > 















in noticirii; the iiU(.'(;cslion of tlic dittituliy arising out j tion 
of tlie former survey, sfiys: | said 

" I'lie ri>:lu wliUti the Mexican (loverinnent reserved I duly 
to eiiiitml tliis lurvey piissed witli ull otiier public nyhts and 
to the i'tiilt'cl StHles, and t!ie ^uim-v niu<t now he made of l! 
under tlie authority of the I niled State", in tlic form 
and divisions prescribed by law for surveys in ('alil'ur- 
nia, cinbracini; tlie entire frrant in one tract." 

When the mandate of the Supreme Court confirminj 

...^ ...^ H'ruiv ' "(Mu^i *iiiu HI iiiu sum por- 
of said decree directin;; the mode nf survey, tiie 

John C. Fremont, by his counsel at the proper time 
excepted and prayed that Ids exception lie si;;neil 

scaled by the (>)uri, and made a partof the reoord 
!iil cau-ie, .which i8 arcordini;ly done 


Circuit Judjre I". S. for the Dists. of Califoniia. 
iF.ALl ()i;iii:n Hukkmav, ,lrt., 

U. S. Dist. Judge, Northern Diat. of California. 


NdiF,.— The dotted line? sliow Ihc Von Schmidt suney. The ri(,'hf an;;!c lines show the llnal survey. 

I^ E Ivd: O V uft^ L 



..,„.», , ,.. , , ri Lsr 




Plated Ware, Fancy Goods, &c., 



One case Paper Dolls, Houses, Furniture, &c. 
Fresh California Eggs. 



niiiKrr FitoM, 



19. X^T «, « SI o ir XML «. IX c*9 Co., 

the I 

" I.' 


at an. 





ta tr.i 




of th 
the 1 
a I'idl 


of Ih 







Map of Fremont's Mariposa Estate showing the relationship between 

the original claim as surveyed by Allexey W. Von Schmidt 

in 1852 and the final location of its boundaries. From 

the San Francisco Bulletin, 8 June 1858. 



Valley was the central vein of the Mother Lode, including the works 
and mines of the Merced Mining Company at Mount Ophir, and the 
rich Josephine and Pine Tree mines farther north, as well as many 
other valuable gold-bearing properties. Ironically, it was the Nouveau 
Monde Mining Company, originally planned by David Hoffman to 
work on Fremont's property, that had done so much to put the Mer- 
ced Company's mines in a favorable working condition before it sur- 
rendered its lease. 

Fremont had never before claimed some of this property, and 
many considered the final location of Las Mariposas "an outrageous 
barefaced piece of downright stealing.""^ Suits were filed, passions 
ran high, and at one time rifles, shotguns, and revolvers bristled on 
both sides, a story beyond the scope of the present volume."^ 

While Fremont was seeking to patent Las Mariposas, he was also 
trying to keep it out of the hands of his creditors. The District of 
Columbia's banking house of Corcoran and Riggs and its San Fran- 
cisco affiliate, James King of William, posed the most serious threat. 
Fremont had borrowed $40,000 from them in September 1851, giving 
as security bills of exchange in the amount of $153,575 that he had 
received as payment for the beef furnished by him to the Indians in 
California. Since the drafts had been repudiated by the Secretary of 
the Interior, Fremont had been unable to meet his debt. There also 
seem to have been other loans from James King of William, who on 
16 February 1854 obtained a judgment in the Fourth Judicial District 
against Fremont in the amount of $84,320. This occurred while the 
explorer was on his fifth expedition and after the Federal District 
Court had denied the Mariposa patent. On reaching San Francisco, 
Fremont met with Palmer and Montgomery Blair, their conversations 
revolving around the court judgment, Mariposa affairs, and the beef 
contracts. Since he had no money, he did not call upon King, who 
took this as a contemptuous slight. Shortly after Fremont left, the 
Mariposa "claim," except for block four in the town and section sixty- 
three of the whole rancho, was advertised for public sale to satisfy the 
judgment. James King of William bought it for $952. Montgomery 
Blair was convinced that King, whose brother Henry had been lost on 
the fourth expedition, was motivated by malicious feelings, although 

"'' San Francisco Bulletin, 27 March 1858. 

'" For a partisan view of the struggle, see j. b. fremont [1]; crampton, 

240-53, gives a balanced summary of the feud. 


King assured Blair that he was acting under orders from his princi- 
ples, Corcoran and Riggs. In view of the adverse decision of the court 
on Fremont's title, Palmer was not especially eager to advance money 
to redeem the property from Corcoran and Riggs. 

For the next few weeks, Montgomery Blair worked hard and long 
on Fremont's affairs, collecting evidence and drawing up legal docu- 
ments. Before August he was able to send east a large package and 
letter which he expected the explorer to read "with more delight than 
he ever did a love letter from Jessie," for it revealed to him "a mode of 
wrestling the Mariposa from Corcoran & Riggs." Before its arrival, 
however, Fremont had reached a settlement. He agreed to pay the 
Washington bank $56,500 out of the monies appropriated by Con- 
gress in the summer of 1854 for his special relief in the matter of the 
Indian beef contracts, but he was to pay any legal and court costs over 
$2,500. This ultimately amounted to more than $2,209 and seems to 
have been covered by Palmer in his settlement with King. 

Perhaps Palmer's banking firm was following the original "plan" of 
Montgomery Blair, or perhaps it was erecting an additional safeguard 
against the tentacles of James King of William and Corcoran and 
Riggs when it obtained a judgment against Fremont in the Twelfth 
Judicial District of California. The court ordered the sheriff to seize 
and sell Fremont's interest in the Mariposa, save again for block four 
in the town and section sixty-three. The public auction was on 28 Oc- 
tober 1854 and Palmer bought the property for $579. In June 1855 he 
paid $2,200.15 for all of James King of William's interest in the Mari- 
posa, which included the 10 June 1854 certificate of purchase and in- 
terest by reason of unpaid court costs. The property had been saved 
from Corcoran and Riggs, but Palmer, Cook & Company's grip on the 
Mariposa had tightened."^ 

Although Las Mariposas was Fremont's most important land inter- 

"* For a summary of JCF's debt and the settlement worked out by the three 
parties, see W. W. Corcoran Papers, Letterpress books for 1854 and 1855, es- 
pecially 29 July 1854, pp. 275-76, but also Corcoran and Riggs to Fremont, 
31 March, 13 and 17 April, 12 July, 12[?] Aug. 1855, pp. 547, 614, 639, 316, and 
Corcoran and Riggs to James King of William, 17 April and two Aug. 1855 
letters, pp. 638, 348, 376 (DLC). The 6 June 1855 indenture between James King 
of William and Joseph C. Palmer not only indicates the final settlement between 
King and Palmer but also gives information on the judgment and 10 June 1854 
sale. For Palmers 28 Oct. 1854 purchase of JCFs interest to satisfy the judgment, 
see indenture between John Boling and Joseph C. Palmer, 5 June 1855. Both in- 
dentures are in Book B of Deeds, pp. 421-25, Mariposa County Court House. 


est in California during this period, it was by no means the only one. 
Alcatraz, commanding the entrance to the Bay of San Francisco, was 
a will-of-the-wisp tantalizing him with the prospect of ownership for 
more than forty years and glowing especially bright when other eco- 
nomic assets fell off. As with the Mariposa, Joseph C. Palmer ac- 
quired a heavy stake; indeed, for a time Fremont seemed to relinquish 
to him all claim, but he succeeded in procuring a reconveyance, and 
1882 found him writing to former Governor John G. Downey: "I am 
about to bring before Congress my claim to the Island of Alcatrases 
and if possible obtain a fair payment for it. I have been informed that 
you understand and appreciate the justice of my claim and that you 
are willing to aid me. . . ." He subsequently sold his shadowy claim to 
W. W. Jenkins and A. K. Moropolous, who were no more successful 
than he had been with the federal government."^ 

In San Francisco proper Fremont owned at least three valuable lots. 
The largest of 100 varus, or about 275 feet on a side, was located on 
Mission Street and had been marked no. 7 on the original town plan. 
A second was lot no. 90 of fifty varus at the corner of Broadway and 
Stockton, and the third, also of fifty vurus, was near the corner of San- 
some and California streets. It had already been subdivided and 
marked on the town plat as nos. 197, 198, and 201. William Leides- 
dorff had acted as the explorer s agent in the acquisition of all these 
properties in 1847 and, after his death, Fremont had to sue his estate 
to gain a clear title to the third, which was a valuable water lot."** 

The explorer also claimed an undivided interest, with Abel Stearns, 
in the orchard lands of Mission Dolores. The original grant had sup- 
posedly been to Jose Andrade in 1846; the tenuous claims were proba- 

For Montgomery Blair's comments on the situation, see his letters to Minna, 
25 May and 9 Aug. 1854 (DLC— Blair Papers). 

"^ For a history of the purchase, see Vol. 2, Doc. No. 153. Palmers interest is 
noted in JCF to Caleb Gushing, 10 May 1855 (DNA-77), and in Doc. 261 n. 7, 
this volume. The Jenkins Family Papers (CU-B) contain many letters on Al- 
catraz, including JCF to John G. Downey, 4 March 1882. 

"* WHEELER, Schedule B, p. 28; bosqui, 82; and the Fremonts' indenture to 
John Pointer, 18 April 1851 (CHi), refer to the 100-^ara lot. wheeler, Schedule 
B, p. 40, notes the grant of lot no. 90; Daily Aha California, 3 March 1851, ob- 
served that auctioneers were scheduled to sell the property for failure to pay 
street assessments. The Transcript of Records, Court of 1st Instance, in Fremont 
V. Howard, California Supreme Court #47, Slate Archives #561, Sacramento, 
identifies the third property. Helpful in locating the properties is William M. 
Eddy's Official Map of San Francisco (1849). 


bly acquired for him by LeidesdorfF, who also seems to have had an 
interest and may have taken some action to improve the property be- 
fore his death in May 1848. The Andrade claim was rejected by the 
land commissioners in 1855, by which time Fremont seems to have 
sold his share, although it is not clear that he and Stearns ever reached 
an agreement on the division and location of their respective por- 
tions."'' In conflict with their claims were those of Jose Prudencio 
Santillan, to whom Governor Pio Pico allegedly granted all the prop- 
erty of Mission Dolores on the condition that he pay the debts of the 
mission. Fremont also tried to hedge his bets by acquiring "Santillan 
stock" in the San Francisco Land Association, which his business co- 
horts, Wright and Palmer, had done so much to float and which was 
trying to patent the Santillan/Bolton claim as well as that of the Noe 
Ranch. '^"^ 

Away from the Golden Gate, Fremont claimed as early as August 
1850 to be part owner of a league of land on the San Joaquin. If this 
were an interest in the Jose Castro claim of eleven leagues on that 
river, as it may have been, it vanished with the Supreme Courts rejec- 
tion of the entire Castro case in I860,'"' although possibly Fremont 
had already disposed of his share. 

In November 1851 he purchased from the widow of Jose Do- 
minguez for $2,000 a half-interest in the more than 17,000-acre San 
Emigdio rancho in what is now Kern County. Two months later for 
$5,000 he acquired an undivided half-interest in El Pescadero, a ranch 
twice as large in San Joaquin County, belonging to Antonio Maria 
Pico. Patents were eventually obtained for both properties and the 
Fremont family held its interest in them for many years.'" 

The three San Francisco lots; the claims to Mission Dolores, to Al- 
catraz Island, and to land on the San Joaquin River; and the extensive 
lands of the Mariposa, San Emigdio, and El Pescadero constitute the 

'" See Doc. Nos. 177, 268, 273, 276, and 281; gates fl]. Apparently JCF bor- 
rowed money on 7 Nov. 1854, using the Mission Dolores property as collateral. 
See excerpt printed in Dawson's Book Shop Catalog 462, "Copy of Summons, 
Rowland G. Hazard v. John C. Fremont, J. S. Howard and Francisco Ocampo 
in the District Court of the 12th Judicial District, San Francisco, March 12, 1859." 

'^" William Lippincott to George W. Wright, 4 March 1857, and an undated 
document, both in the M. A. Goodspeed, Jr., Collection, indicate JCF's own- 
ership of Santillan stock. See Doc. No. 178, n.l, for a history of the Santillan/ 
Bolton claim and its relationship to the Andrade claim. 

''' See Doc. No. 103, n.2. 

'" See Doc. Nos. 173 and 198. 


known real estate assets of Fremont in California during the 1848-55 
period. Another holding, the one that was so dear to Jessie's heart, was 
a thirteen-acre tract on Point San Jose (Black Point) overlooking 
Alcatraz, which Fremont purchased for her in 1860 for $41,000 in 
gold from the San Francisco banker Mark Brumagin, the presumed 
owner.'" The property included a Gothic cottage, built by a neigh- 
bor and probably once occupied by Charles W. Cook; Joseph C. Pal- 
mer, also of Cook, Palmer & Company, lived on the point, too. Once 
the family was settled in the house, Jessie spent $20,000 on improve- 
ments, enlarging the parlor, adding a glass veranda on three sides, and 
building a stable and summer house on the grounds.'^'' It was her 
pride and joy. To Elizabeth Blair Lee, she ecstatically described the 
home as "more beautiful than any Sea Dream that Tennyson or any 
poet ever fancied"; it was much preferred to Las Mariposas, with its 
isolation, grizzly bears, ratdesnakes, and miners.'" 

But the federal government had never conceded that Black Point 
was private property and, during the Civil War, took it over for de- 
fense purposes, removed the improvements, and erected fortifications. 
At the time Jessie was in the East, having rented the house to old 
friend Edward F Beale, then Surveyor General of California and Ne- 
vada. In 1867 Fremont petitioned the Secretary of War to restore the 
property to Jessie; when this failed, she prosecuted her case all the way 
to the Supreme Court. Denied redress there, through her attorney, 
lobbyists, and friends she kept the claim before Congress: by 1892 
House or Senate committees had investigated and reported at least 
twelve times on proposals for her relief As late as 1895 she was writ- 
ing to the daughter of the original developer: "You see I hold to living 
until we get Black Point, after that my pension will not be needed 

" 126 

The years from 1848 to 1855 were times of contrast. As in Fre- 

'" See DNA-77, Land Papers, Point San Jose, for documents relating to the 
claim, including JCF's 1867 petition and congressional committees' reports and 
bills. The Fremonts seemed to have occupied and improved the property before 
the formal purchase from Mark Brumagin on 28 Sept. 1860. The previous day, 
JBF had mortgaged the property to Leonidas Haskell and his wife for $16,000 
and to William Dana and Haskell for $5,000 (Senate Report 898, 52nd Cong., 1st 
sess., Serial 2915). 

■'" RATHER, 28, 32; JCF to Albert Tracy, 23 Sept. 1863 (NN). 

'" JBF to Elizabeth Blair Lee, Black Point, 2 June 1860 and 14 June [1860] 
(NjP — Blair-Lee Paf)ers). 

''' JBF to "Dear Nell," Los Angeles, 18 March 1895 (CU-B). 


mont's life in general, they brought both success and failure, high 
points and low points. On the one hand, there was the glamor of a 
seat in the U.S. Senate, fleeting though it was, but fueling his ambi- 
tion for the presidency. There was the social whirl in London and 
Paris, in which Jessie so delighted. If Fremont was the holder of the 
vast Las Mariposas, he found its use difficult. Confirmation of title 
was ultimately achieved, but only after years of struggle. To raise capi- 
tal by leases or by sale was not easy, either at home or in England. To 
be sure, Indian beef contracts were lucrative but payment was another 
matter. Even with substantial holdings, Fremont was never wealthy; 
he often borrowed money and was often sued for debt. 

And if the earlier years had established his reputation as explorer, 
the horrors of the fourth expedition tarnished the luster, adding little 
to geographical and scientific knowledge of the West but providing 
melodrama and a wealth of material for future studies in psychohis- 
tory, motivation, and leadership. Not even the fifth and final one 
would bring full redemption, although Carvalho tried mightily to 
make it "original" and his leader a "Caesar." Out of a total route of 
1,550 miles in 1853-54, Fremont had traveled the first 700 miles over 
old ground and at least another 300 in the wagon tracks of John 
Gunnison. By his own admission the results had been meager — 
principally daguerreotypes, meteorological observations, barometrical 
readings, and geological fragments. He would hardly call the latter a 
collection: snow, fatigue, and anxiety had left room for only the most 
scanty gleaning. 

Warranting the scrutiny of perspective are the first three expedi- 
tions, which established forever Fremont's place in history. The first in 
1842 — which eventually reached South Pass and the rugged Wind 
River Mountains in Wyoming — had not been especially pathbreak- 
ing, but by his spectacular unfurling of the national flag on one of the 
highest peaks in the chain and by his remarkable report, he stirred the 
imaginations of Americans and did more than Bentons rhetoric or 
any previous explorer or mountain man to point the way west. The 
Senate ordered printed and distributed a thousand copies of his re- 
port, which included a kind of road map as far as South Pass. 

He became even more famous when, two years later, Americans 
read the report of his fantastic 1843-44 circuit of the West, which his 
wife had again helped him prepare. They also pored over the accom- 
panying map of the West, drawn like the first with the help of 
Charles Preuss, his topographer on both expeditions. Three times the 


length of the first, the report was to become a classic of exploring liter- 
ature and with the map changed easterners' conception of the West. 
Both the House and the Senate ordered printings of 10,000 (in com- 
bination with the first report), and very shortly it was taken up by 
commercial publishers in America and abroad with editions appear- 
ing in French and German. When in 1850 Londoners viewed a grand 
moving painted panorama of the western expeditions and read a 
twenty-one page "Thrilling Sketch" of his life, prepared by his father- 
in-law, Fremont was well on the way to becoming not merely a na- 
tional but a world hero. 

Part of Fremont's appeal lay in his reports — in their charm and 
readability. Together he and Jessie had been able to capture his love of 
adventure, his enthusiasm for the natural environment, and to involve 
readers vicariously in the shooting of the canyons of the Sweetwater, 
the navigation of the Great Salt Lake in an eighteen-foot India rubber 
boat, the month-long battle with snow in crossing the Sierra Nevadas 
in mid-January, and other exciting adventures. The reports were 
lively, filled with human touches, even frontier gossip, and provided 
curious Americans with a wealth of miscellaneous information about 
the West: the superiority of Indian buffalo-skin lodges to American 
tents, Sutter's Fort on the Sacramento River, the size of the redwoods, 
and the importance of acorns in the diet of the California Indians. 

More important, the reports gave utilitarian information about ter- 
rain, campsites, water, vegetation, wildlife, and weather. Many set out 
for the West "guided," as Sarah Royce remembered, "only by the light 
of Fremont's Travels T '" In coming home from California at the rear 
of Stephen Watts Kearny's column in 1847, the explorer's spirits had 
soared when in the great emigration he had met many strong and 
warm friends. "They were using my maps on the road, traveling by 
them," he wrote Pierson B. Reading, "and you may judge how grati- 
fied I was to find that they found them perfectly correct & could 
do so." 

Fremont's participation in the Bear Flag Revolt and his subsequent 
court-martial for refusing to acknowledge Gen. Kearny's authority 
gave a million dollars worth of publicity to him and to California. His 
Geographical Memoir upon the former Mexican province to accom- 
pany the map of Oregon and California, which Preuss was drawing, 
added another measure. While the Memoir was never as popular or 

'" ROYCE, 3. 


influential as the two reports, it enhanced Fremont's reputation as a 
scientist and, in Dale L. Morgan s words, "the map was a cartographi- 
cal monument."'"* 

In addition, Fremont's image as a dashing young explorer was un- 
doubtedly enhanced by the fact that he was known largely through 
his own writings and those of Jessie and Benton. It is rather extraordi- 
nary that five expeditions, involving at least 175 men, left so few let- 
ters and journals by the participants. None at all relating to the first 
three were published during his lifetime. William H. Emory took a 
few swipes at him in the press in 1847, but these stemmed from the 
controversy with Kearny and did not impugn Fremont's work as an 
explorer. Nor was the personnel of the expeditions of a kind likely to 
write. He seldom took scientists with him, indeed, few educated men 
at all. As far back as December 1844 the German scientist in Saint 
Louis, George Engelmann, noticed that Fremont had objected to 
adding a botanist or geologist on the second expedition and suspected 
that he was reluctant to let anybody share in his discoveries, being 
"anxious to reap all the honour, as well as undertake all the labour 
himself." Both Isaac Cooper and James F Milligan noted Fremont's 
prohibition on the keeping of journals or other memoranda. 

With such a minimum of expert help, it is amazing that he was 
able to accomplish as much as he did. His scientific contributions 
were more than respectable and were recognized at home and abroad. 
He discovered and named the Great Basin as a geological and geo- 
graphic entry. Because he explored the area's perimeters, he knew that 
no rivers ran from it to the sea, although large streams flowed in; his 
perceptive analysis of this phenomenon was the first recognition of 
the great power of evaporation in the region. He aptly compared the 
Great Basin with the interior of Asia. He also established the correct 
elevation of Great Salt Lake at 4,200 feet, and his description of the 
valleys along Bear River were undoubtedly influential in the Mor- 
mons' decision to settle in Salt Lake Valley. As Vols. 1 and 2 noted, he 
collected specimens of rocks, minerals, fossils, soils, and plants for 
eastern scientists to analyze and classify. One such botanical collection 
was made in the Uinta Basin, an area not again botanized until the 
twentieth century. 

He was also the first to describe and explain so succinctly the great 
climatic difference between the east and west sides of the Cascade 




Mountains. He recognized that the Oregon country was geologically 
different from the other regions of the United States, partly because of 
the great lava flows and partly because of the Columbia River, the 
mighty watercourse that tied the Rocky Mountains to the Pacific. 
When he saw submerged trees at one place in the Columbia, he rec- 
ognized that this was the result not of rising waters but of compli- 
cated landsliding, and he was able to find the actual shear surfaces on 
which the shifts had occurred. 

He was among the first to emphasize the agricultural possibilities of 
California, noticing the importance of wheat in the north and the po- 
tential for cotton further south. Among the arid brush-covered hills 
south of San Diego, he had found "litde vallies converted by a single 
spring into crowded gardens, where pears, peaches, quinces, pomegra- 
nates, grapes, olives, and other fruits grew luxuriantly together. . . ." 

Some of the names Fremont bestowed upon the land did not pos- 
sess much staying power, but others were permanently transmitted; 
among the most famous are the Golden Gate, the Humboldt River 
and Mountains, Carson River and Lake, Walker River and Lake, 
Owens River and Lake, and the Kern River. Eventually twelve 
towns — east and west of the Mississippi — and countless city streets 
would bear the name Fremont. 

More than in the earlier volumes, the documents here show Fre- 
mont to be complex, distant, and on occasion unscrupulous, but in 
1856 most Americans would still agree with Thomas Oliver Larkin: 
"I considered Mr. Fremont a just, correct and moral man, abstemious, 
bold and persevering."'''* Without a doubt he was intelligent and 
ambitious, a true product of the mid-nineteenth century, manifesting 
that same faith in his own destiny as Americans did collectively in 
theirs and in their nation. 


The Documents 

I have continued the editorial procedures established by Donald 
Jackson and myself in Vols. 1 and 2 of The Expeditions of John Charles 
Fremont. The original text is followed as closely as the demands of 
typography will permit, with several departures based on common 

LARKIN, 10:290-91. 


sense and the current practice of scholars. In the matter of capitaHza- 
tion the original is followed, unless the writer's intention is not clear, 
in which case I resort to modern usage. Occasionally, in the interests 
of clarity, a long, involved sentence is broken into two sentences. Miss- 
ing periods at the ends of sentences are supplied, dashes terminating 
sentences are supplanted by periods, and superfluous dashes after pe- 
riods are omitted. In abbreviations, raised letters are brought down 
and a period supplied if modern usage calls for one. Words under- 
scored in manuscript are italicized. The complimentary closing is run 
in with the preceding paragraph, and a comma is used if no other end 
punctuation is present. The acute accent mark on the e in Fremont is 
supplied when it appears in the document and omitted where it does 
not appear, but it is used in all headings and references to Fremont. 
Procedures for dealing with missing or illegible words, conjectural 
readings, etc. are shown in the list of symbols, pp. Ixxx-lxxxii. When 
in doubt about how to proceed in a trivial matter, I have silently fol- 
lowed modern practice; if the question is more important, the situa- 
tion is explained in a note. 

Because Jessie B. Fremont wrote and signed so many of her hus- 
band's letters, I have continued to indicate this to the reader, as set 
forth in the list of symbols. 

When a related document or letter is used — that is, not one di- 
rectly to or from Fremont — extraneous portions are deleted and the 
deletion is indicated by a symbol. The present volume contains fewer 
related documents than did Vol. 2. Space and printing costs have 
forced the calendaring of some documents. Fremont's many powers of 
attorney are not printed in full but are summarized. So also are the 
long and often repetitious letters of David Hoffman, Fremont's agent 
in London, but Fremont's letters to him are printed in full. 

The Notes 

The first manuscript indicated is the one from which the transcrip- 
tion has been made; other copies, if known, are listed next. If endorse- 
ments or addresses are routine, their presence is merely noted, but if 
they contribute useful information, they are quoted in full. For exam- 
ple, see the endorsement on the copy of the letter of Jessie B. Fremont 
to David Hoffman, 8 April 1852, Doc. No. 230, concerning Mrs. Fre- 
mont's appeal for bail money for her husband following his arrest in 

Material taken from printed texts is so indicated (printed in bige- 


low), but no attempt is made to record other printed versions. 

Unless previously done in Vols. 1 and 2, senders, receivers, and per- 
sons referred to in the documents are briefly identified at first men- 
tion. For senders and receivers, this identification is made in the first 
paragraph of the notes and no reference number is used. The reader 
can easily find the identification of an individual by locating in the 
index the page on which he or she is first mentioned. 

With the exception of H. H. Bancroft's Register of Pioneer Inhabi- 
tants of California, 1542 to 1848, no source is cited for the kind of bio- 
graphical information to be found in standard directories, geneal- 
ogies, and similar aids. 

Names of authors in small capitals are citations to sources listed 
in the bibliography on pp. 611-17. This device enables me to keep 
many long titles and other impedimenta out of the notes. In the case 
of two or more works by the same author, a number is assigned, as in 
GATES [1]. When a published work is being discussed, not merely 
cited, I often list it fully by author and title in the notes. 

To avoid the constant repetition of the Fremont names, I have 
freely used the initials JCF and JBF for John Charles and Jessie. 

Most of the papers of George W. Wright used in this volume are 
from the M. A. Goodspeed, Jr., Collection. 




Libraries and Archives, as Designated 

BY THE National Union Catalog 

OF THE Library of Congress 

C California State Library, Sacramento 

CHi California Historical Society, San Francisco 

CLU University of California at Los Angeles 

CSf San Francisco Public Library, San Francisco 

CSmH Henry E. Huntington Library, San Marino, Calif. 

CtY Yale University, New Haven 

CU-B Bancroft Library, University of California at Berkeley 

DLC Library of Congress 

ICHi Chicago Historical Society, Chicago 

lU University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign 

LU Louisiana State University 

MB Boston Public Library 

MHi Massachusetts Historical Society, Boston 

MoSB Missouri Botanical Garden Library, St. Louis 

MoSHi Missouri Historical Society, St. Louis 

MoU University of Missouri, Columbia 

NHi New-York Historical Society, New York 

NjP Princeton University, Princeton, N.J. 

NN New York Public Library 

NNNBG New York Botanical Garden, Bronx Park, New York 

NNPM Pierpont Morgan Library, New York 

OrHi Oregon Historical Society, Pordand 

PHi Historical Society of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia 

PPAN Academy of Natural Sciences, Philadelphia 

Vi Virginia State Library, Richmond 


National Archives Record Groups 

DNA-15 Records of the Veterans Administration 

DNA-49 Records of the Bureau of Land Management — 

General Land Office 
DNA-59 General Records of the Department of State 

DNA-75 Records of the Bureau of Indian Affairs 

DNA-76 Records of Boundary and Claims Commissions and 

DNA-77 Records of the Office of the Chief of Engineers 

DNA-92 Records of the Office of the Quartermaster General, 

California Claims Board, 1847-55 
DNA-94 Records of the Adjutant General's Office, 1780s- 1917 

DNA-104 Records of the Bureau of the Mint 
DNA-107 Records of the Office of the Secretary of War 
DNA-2 1 7 Records of the U.S. General Accounting Office (T- 1 35 

denotes a collection of microfilm documents in this 

record group.) 
DNA-267 Records of the Supreme Court of the United States — 

Appellate Case Files 
DNA-393 Records of U.S. Army Continental Commands, 


Other Symbols and Editorial Aids 

AD Autograph document 

ADS Autograph document, signed 

ADS-JBF Autograph document, Fremont's name signed by Jessie 

AL Autograph letter 

ALS Autograph letter, signed 

ALS-JBF Autograph letter, Fremont's name signed by Jessie 

D Document 

DS Document, signed 

DS-JBF Document, Fremont's name signed by Jessie 

JBF Jessie Benton Fremont 

JCF Johp Charles Fremont 

Lbk Letterbook copy 

LR Letter received 

LS Letter sent 

RC Receiver's copy 

RG Record Group 



SC Sender's copy 

[ ] Word or phrase supplied or corrected. Editorial 

remarks within text are italicized and enclosed in 

square brackets. 
[?] Conjectural reading or conjectural identification of an 

[. . .] A word or two missing or illegible. Longer omissions 

are specified in footnotes. 
( ) Word or phrase deleted from manuscript, usually by 

sender. The words are set in italics. 
.... Unrelated matter deleted by the editor. The symbol 

stands alone, centered on a separate line. 


The 1848-49 Expedition: 
Disaster in the Garitas 


1. Fremont to John Torrey 

Washington City, March 22d. 1848 
My Dear Sir 

After taking the trouble to gather plants I do not think we ought to 
lose them, even the scattered fragments which I find here & there in 
my note books. I shall therefore send you such as I find, and will beg 
you to return them to me with a name if you have leisure. It may 
happen that I can make the knowledge useful. Very truly yours, 

J. C. Fremont 

2. Fremont to John Torrey 

Washington City, May 3d. 1848 
My Dear Sir, 

I have just received with much pleasure your interesting note of the 
1st.' to which I will reply more at length. In the mean time I beg you 
to give me the name of the flower enclosed. Very truly yours, 

}. C. Fremont 
Dr. Torrey 

1. Not found. 

3. Fremont to John Torrey 

Washington May 5. 1848 

My dear Sir, 

I mentioned to you that I am drawing up to be presented to Con- 
gress a brief mtmoir upon California. It is intended to give some data 
for forming an estimate of the real value of the country, particularly 
required at this time, and will contain what facts I am able to give in 
(the absence of journals and collections) climate, general appearance, 
elevation and vegetation in different seasons. I therefore am obliged to 
make use of what little botanical knowledge is in my possession. If 
you have no objection I will mention the oak under the name Quercus 
longiglanda. The fruit in the drawing sent is of the natural size, and 
the tree a very large one frequently 6 feet in diam[eter]. 

In mentioning trees I am anxious to be as exact and definite as 
possible, and will thank you for the name of the large cedar of the 
Sierra Nevada, California, (juniperus) brought home on our previous 
voyage, and also of a large tree belonging to the division of cypresses 
probably brought in at that time. It is called Palo Colorado by the Cali- 
fornians, or Red wood. During our last journey I measured some 15 & 
17 feet diameter and 285 feet high. Our present collection has many 
specimens in almost every stage of growth. The fruit grows on the 
upper parts and is a sort of small cone. [JCF draws a small cone.] 

This memoir I expect to send in next week, and would be glad to 
hear from you immediately. I have not yet received Mr. Bracken- 
ridge's' note. Probably the plant is already in our collection, but as I 
shall not know any thing on this point I will do what I can to find it. 
In looking over the few notes I have here I find that our collection is 
very rich, containing in addition to the plants, many seeds. Col. Ben- 
ton will see that it reaches you safely. It is on board a ship of war [the 
Erie] now on her way home, and which is expected to reach Norfork 
in the next month. When the immediate press of business is over, we 
will arrange our plans for the coming enterprise. Very truly yours, 

J. C. Fremont 
Dr. John Torrey 


1. William Dunlop Brackenridge (1810-93) had served as assistant naturalist 
on Charles Wilkes's exploring expedition in the Pacific. He was on board the 
Peacocf{ when it was wrecked at the Columbia River in 1841 and had to travel 

overland to join the rest of the Wilkes squadron anchored in San Francisco Bay 
(maloney). He thus had an opportunity to collect and record in the Shasta re- 
gion and Sacramento Valley, and presumably Brackenridges note would deal 
with Libocedrus decurrens Torr., incense cedar, later described by Torrey and il- 
lustrated by Isaac Sprague (see pp. 578 and 601). 

4. Thomas H. Benton to the Editors 
of the National Intelligencer 

C Street, May 14, 1848 

We read in the National Intelligencer for May 9 as follows: 

"The United States sloop of war Portsmouth, Commander 
[ John B.] Montgomery, arrived in Boston, on Friday from the Pacific 

"Commander Montgomery states that the British frigate Herald 
and the brig Pandora are engaged in making a new survey of the 
Gulf and coast of California. 

"The whaleship Hope, of Providence, [Rhode Island], was recently 
lost on the coast in consequence of an error in the charts now in gen- 
eral use, which locate the coast and islands from Monterey to Cape 
San Lucas from fifteen to forty miles too far to the eastward." 

On reading this notice in your paper, I have to say that the error in 
question has already been detected by Mr. Fremont and corrected in 
his map of Oregon and Upper California, now in course of prepara- 
tion, and nearly ready to be laid before the Senate, by whom its con- 
struction was ordered. In his last expedition, Mr. Fremont made a se- 
ries of astronomical observations across the continent, terminating at 
Santa Cruz, near Anno Nuevo, the northwestern point of the Bay of 
Monterey. It was found, on laying down these positions on his map, 
that the west end of the line went beyond the coast, as given in Van- 
couver's charts (the basis of all in use), and that it projected ten miles 
into the sea. His own map was immediately corrected accordingly, 
placing the coast and islands of Upper California ten miles further 

Mr. Fremont's observations were made in the winter and spring of 
1845 and 1846. They were calculated by Professor Hubbard,' of the 
Washington City Observatory, during the past winter; and were laid 
down on the map by Mr. Chas. Preuss, in February last. 

This map, with a memoir to illustrate it, and the calculations of 
Prof. Hubbard, will be laid before the Senate in a few days. 
Respectfully, gentlemen, your obedient servant, 

Thomas H. Benton 

Printed in National Intelligencer, 15 May 1848. 

1. Professor of mathematics in the U.S. Navy and stationed at the Naval Ob- 
servatory, Joseph Hubbard (1823-63) had been doing calculations for JCF since 

5. William L. Marcy to Fremont 

War Department 
Washington May 18, 1848 

The Chairman of the Committee on Military Affairs of the House 
of Representatives' has called on the Department for all papers on file 
relative to the accounts or claims arising in California. On looking at 
them, I find some of such character as induced me to think that you 
might wish to see them, and probably may "desire to accompany them 
with some remarks. 

Should you think proper to call at the Department, I will submit 
them to your examination. I am, with great respect, Your Obt. Servt., 

W. L. Marcy 
Secretary of War 

Lbk (DNA-107,LS, 28:294). 

1. The chairman was Congressman John M. Botts (1802-69) of Virginia. 

6. Fremont to William L. Marcy 

Washington City, May 19, 1848 


The contract with Celis for money & cattle, & two per cent, a 
month interest, communicated to you by Col. Mason, was one of 
those alluded to in my letter to you of October last,' & brought before 

the Senate Committee of Military Affairs in February, & the evidence 
in relation to it printed in the document of evidence. 

In my letter to you, I said, in reference to this class of claims re- 
maining to be provided for: 

"2. Payment to citizens of that territory of money loaned to me by 
them, required and expended in the administration of the government 
and partial payment of the troops. . . . 

Amounts of money required for civil and military purposes were at 
different times loaned to me by different individuals, principally Mexican 
citizens, as the governor of the territory, acknowledged as such by them. 
The sums of money are not large, but having been obtained under the 
high rate of interest usual in that country, public interest is suffering by a 
delayed payment." 

See the whole letter, pages 3 & 4 of document, a copy in full of 
which is herewith furnished. 

This contract with Celis was made by the commissary, Capt. [Sam- 
uel J.] Hensley, with my approbation, & was fully brought before the 
Military Committee of the Senate. The testimony of Capt. Hensley, at 
pages 35 & 36, says:^ 

"After the formation of the civil government of California by Com- 
modore Stockton, in January, 1847, I was appointed by Governor Fre- 
mont, commissary of subsistence to the California battalion, in which ca- 
pacity I made such purchases as were necessary for the subsistence of the 
troops, paying for the articles purchased by giving my official certificate 
of the amount due. In discharge of this duty, I purchased of Eulogio de 
Celez [CelisJ six hundred head of beef cattle, at $10 cash, Celez also fur- 
nishing as part of the same transaction, twenty-five hundred dollars in 
cash to Governor Fremont, for the use of the United States government, 
the whole amount of the loan and the price of the cattle, was agreed on 
our part, to be paid to him within six months thereafter, if not, to bear 
interest from that date till paid. Soon after this purchase the California 
battalion was disbanded, and Governor Fremont ordered me to retain 
possession of these cattle until he could know whether those succeeding 
him in command would become responsible for the contracts made un- 
der his authority. When it was ascertained that his successor would not 
become thus responsible. Governor Fremont directed me to place the cat- 
tle in safe keeping, where they might remain as some security to Celez 
for the amount due him. I accordingly placed the cattle in charge of Abel 
Sternes [Stearns], a responsible man, who agreed to keep and be respon- 
sible for them, for one half of their increase. There was also left in that 
country about sixteen hundred pounds of sugar, in the possession of John 

Rowland, near the city of Angels, and also a quantity stored in Santa 

The statement of Celis, forwarded by Col. Jonathan D. Stevenson 
to the War Department confirms the testimony of Capt. Hensley. 
After Genl. Kearny informed me that he would not assume my lia- 
bilities as Governor, the catde, for the security of Celis, not knowing 
what would be done, were placed in deposit with a responsible man 
(Mr. Abel Stearns) & without expense to the United States. I went up 
to Monterey to see Genl. Kearny about these liabilities, in the latter 
part of March, 1847, when the interview was of such a character as to 
induce me to offer my resignation to him (page 107 of the printed 
record of the trial.) 

To a question if he had not then been asked whether he would 
assume these liabilities? he answered that he did not recollect the 
question, but if it had been put he would have answered in the nega- 
tive. It was put, & was answered in the negative, & hence the arrange- 
ment to put the cattle in deposit. The following from the printed trial 
shows this: (page 107) 

"Question. Did not Lieutenant Colonel Fremont in that interview 
make known to you that he wished to know whether you, as governor, 
would assume the government responsibilities, accruing during the time 
that he was governor, under Governor Stockton's appointment? 

Answer. I have no recollection of his having asked me. If he had, I 
should have answered in the negative. 

Question. Did you not tell him that you would not assume one cent of 
those liabilities? and do you not know that his drafts on account of those 
expenses are now protested to the amount of some twenty thousand dol- 
lars, and subject to be doubled, and he to be sued for the whole? 

Answer. I do not remember of telling him as stated in the question. I 
do not know, at this time, that his drafts have been protested. 

Question. Did he not immediately offer his resignation of his commis- 
sion in the army? and did you not refuse it? and, if so, please relate all 
that passed? 

Answer. In the conversation with him at Monterey, I think he did 
offer to resign his commission, which I refused to accept." 

It was notorious in the country that Genl. Kearny refused to recog- 
nize these liabilities, & even depreciated their value by disparaging re- 
marks, & Messrs. [Henry] King & [Edward M.] Kern, left behind in 
California, when he brought me away, & now just arrived here, can 
prove it. 


The interest to be paid after the note became due (2 per cent, per 
month) appeared high to the Committee of the Senate, & many wit- 
nesses were examined on that point, of whom, Mr. [Frank] Ward, a 
merchant of San Francisco, testified (page 60, of the document of evi- 
dence) as follows: 

"Question. Do you know of the rates at which bills were selling while 
you were at California, and what per cent, was paid for money? 

Answer. Government has paid from 12 to 20 per cent, on bills of the 
United States; and it is my impression that there has been paid as high as 
25 per cent. 

The legal interest for money in California is two per cent, a month, 
and three per cent, a month is very often paid." 

And Mr. [Daingerfield] Fauntleroy, a purser in the Navy, & a wit- 
ness before the Committee (same page) testified as follows: 

"Answer. I was a purser in the navy of the United States on the Cali- 
fornia station on board the frigate Savannah, from the 2d of February, 
1846, to the 26th March, 1847. The rate of exchange, I believe, was 
twenty per cent; that pursers of the squadron had drawn at that rate; 
and, I believe, a higher rate of interest had been given in other instances. 
I had occasion to draw, myself, several times, first in favor of Mr. Frank 
Ward, a gentleman from New York, and merchant of Verba Buena, who 
very liberally reduced the exchange to twelve per cent., much to the an- 
noyance of capitalists of that country; but on the ship leaving for the 
United States, I was compelled to give fifteen per cent, in favor of another 

The rate of interest for money loaned, I think, was two per cent, a 

In this case, the contract was at eight months, & interest only pay- 
able after that time, if not paid when due. If so paid, there was no 
interest: if not, the legal interest, & the common interest was two per 
cent, a month. I was then acting as Governor, under commission from 
Comm. Stockton, who had sent to Callas to raise money, & the con- 
tract was expected to be met when due. 

The price of the cattle is said by Col. Mason to be 40 per cent, too 
high. The testimony of Capt. Hensley (page 36 of the document of 
evidence) shows the error of that statement — that beef cattle were 
$8 to $10. 

"Statement of the average prices of military supplies of all descriptions in 

California before and during the war. 

Horses and mules, from $25 to $35. 

Saddles, complete, from 30 to 40 

Bridles 6 to 10 

Spurs 6 to 10 

Botas 4 to 8 

All of which are necessary in that country 

Rifles, from $50 to $100; very scarce 

Powder 2 per pound 

Lead 37'/2 cents per pound 

Percussion caps $10 per thousand 

Beef cattle 8 to $10 per head 

Flour 10 per hundred pounds 

Sugar 37 to $50 per hundred pounds. 

Coffee 50 per hundred pounds" 

The contract with Celis was a good one for the United States, & 
entered into by him as an act of friendship to the United States. He 
was a wealthy Mexican gentleman of California, remained neutral 
during the war, & lent the money & furnished the catde to me as Gov- 
ernor, & ought to be faithfully repaid, with thanks for his friendly aid. 
The catde are kept by Mr. Stearns without expense to the United 
States, to secure the parties concerned from loss. The following state- 
ment of Col. Russell (page 50 of the document of evidence) relates to 
contracts like that with Mr. Celis: 

"Your deponent states that, in consequence of the wise and humane 
treatment of Colonel Fremont towards the conquered population, his 
popularity became very great in the country, and enabled him to do what 
no other man, I confidendy believe, could have done, to obtain supplies 
on credit, and simply by pledging his word that his acts would be ratified 
by his government." 

Col. Mason says there was a quartermaster at Monterey, who had 
been more than a month in the country, with a supply of money, ap- 
plicable to the proper expenses of the army in California. Such might 
have been the fact at Monterey, but I was at Los Angeles 400 miles 
distant, & on account of the conflicting claims of Commodore Stock- 
ton & Genl. Kearny, derived no benefit from that quartermaster. 
What litde I received, came from Comm. Stockton, who did what he 
could to support the civil government he had created. 

The contract with Celis was made on the 3d. of March, 1847, 
which was two days before Genl. Kearny, at Monterey, 400 miles dis- 
tant, had issued his proclamation dated 1st of March, to assume the 


government of California, as shown in his own testimony before the 
Court Martial. At page 100 of the printed record, these facts appear: 

"Question. You state in your letter of the 15th of March, that you is- 
sued a proclamation on the 4th, dated on the 1st of March; now, when 
and where was that proclamation promulgated? 

Answer. It was promulgated throughout California; it was given in 
manuscript to the printer on the 4th of March; many copies of it were 
printed and distributed immediately after; the copies were sent by the 
printer to me; and Mr. Larkin, at whose house I was staying, took them 
from me to distribute; the printers, as I understood him, distributed 
some; I believe they were printed, on the 5th. If the object of the accused 
is to inquire of me whether Captain Turner, when he went below, took a 
copy of that paper, I will say that he did not." 

This shows that the Proclamation assuming the government of 
California was not printed at Monterey until the 5th. of March, & that 
even then it was not sent to me. In the meantime, I had fulfilled the 
duties of Governor under the commission of Commodore Stockton; 
& the question now is, whether my contract as such shall be complied 
with? The papers given to Celis by me, in April, 1847, was to verify 
the contract of March 3d. after I knew that Genl. Kearny would not 
assume it, & to enable a just settlement to be made. I was about to be 
brought out of the country, & wished to make the transaction. The 
money was delivered on the 3d. of March, most of the cattle soon 
after; the rest secured to be delivered to Mr. Stearns, & a certificate 
given to Mr. Celis that his contract was complied with, on his giving 
security to deliver the few remaining cattle. The transaction was thus 
authenticated both in California, for the security, & before the Mili- 
tary Committee of the Senate, for the information of the Government 
at home. 

Col. Mason also gives information of the loan from Antonio Cot, 
at what he calls an "enormous rate of interest." The interest was three 
percent, for two months, & two per cent, ^or four months more, if not 
repaid at that time, & the sum was $3000. The date of the loan was the 
4th of February, 1847, soon after I became Governor under Com- 
modore Stockton's appointment, & when his purser, Mr. [William] 
Speiden, was endeavoring to raise money on bills to defray the ex- 
penses of the civil government which he had established. This case is 
one of those referred to in my letter to the Secretary at War in Oct. 
last, as money borrowed for the service of the government at the high 
rates of interest common in the country. It is proved that two per cent. 


a month was the legal interest of the country, that three was some- 
times given & that the naval pursers raised money on bills on the 
United States at from 12 to 25 per cent, discount. Reducing this dis- 
count to interest, & supposing the bill to be six months (a usual time) 
in getting round the Cape Horn & the rate of interest would be from 
two to four per cent a month. A letter from Mr. Larkin, U.S. consul at 
Monterey, to Genl. Kearny, written to obtain payment of claims, and 
dated May 30th, 1847, and printed at page 17 of the document of evi- 
dence, says that, in consequence of the non payment of the claimants, 
merchants were then paying two per cent, a month on borrowed 

Col. Mason says, Genl. Kearny, my superior, was then in the coun- 
try, (to wit, February 4, 1847). Genl. Kearny's testimony before the 
Court Martial says that his controversy with Commodore Stockton 
took place at Los Angeles about the middle of January — that he left 
Comm. Stockton & myself there on the 18th. — that he went off, with- 
out notice to me, or orders, or message, or taking leave, or saying 
where he was going — & that afterwards at Monterey, 400 miles dis- 
tant, he assumed the civil government of California, by a proclama- 
tion written the 4th of March, dated the 1st, printed the 5th, dis- 
tributed afterwards, & no copy sent to me. From the time he left Los 
Angeles, (18th January) till the 11th of March, (when he sent me an 
order by Capt. Turner) I was without information from him. Where 
he was, was to me unknown, nor did it make any difference in my 
administration of the government, as Genl. Kearny had not then as- 
sumed it. 

The third, & last thing, communicated by Col. Mason, is the order 
to the Collector of the Customs, at San Pedro "to receive depreciated 
paper ($1700) signed by individuals in no way responsible to the gov- 
ernment." This information from Col. Mason, was information of 
what has also been the subject of examination here, & received its ju- 
dicial answer. (The precise sum was $1731.41 1/2). The order to the 
collector was to receive the certificates given in payment for supplies for 
the use of the United States, in payment for duties. It was a mode of 
paying for the supplies. The certificates were then at a discount of 
about thirty per cent. I presume they are much more depreciated now, 
& will sink to a mere trifle if not paid under a law of this session. The 
depreciation was no loss to the government, which had received the 
value in supplies: it was a loss to the original holder, who took it in 


place of money, which the government had not there to give, & who 
sold it at a discount. The payment was no loss to the government but 
an act of justice in taking its own paper in payment of its own debts. 
The amount received was $1731.41 1/2, & diminishes to that extent 
the claims to be provided for under this bill. The order to the collector 
was in my character of governor — was at first verbal — afterwards 
given in writing, to authenticate the transaction, which written order 
it is probable Col. Mason had not seen, otherwise he would have 
known that it was a mere receiving of government paper in payment 
of government dues. The order to receive it was official, through the 
Secretary of California, Col. Wm. H. Russell. It was in these words: 


March 21, 1847. 

Sir: You are hereby ordered and permitted, in the case of F. Hultman 
[Hiittmann], to receive government payment in payment of his custom- 
house dues. Very respectfully, 

J. C. Fremont, 

Governor of California 

By Wm. H. Russell, 

Secretary of State 

To David W. Alexander, 
Collector of the port of San Pedro. 

N. B. Mr. Hultman will be entitled to the usual discount by prompt 

Wm. H. Russell, for 
J. C. Fremont, Governor" 

The only loser in the transaction was the original holder — but 
even thirty per cent, loss then might have been better for him than to 
have held it to the present time. 

My situation in California was difficult & arduous — 3000 miles dis- 
tant — without money — carrying on military operations — admin- 
istering a civil government — getting supplies & small loans on the 
best terms possible — & actually getting supplies & loans from the con- 
quered inhabitants, as an act of friendship to the United States. Myself 
& my staff officers know every transaction — authenticated many be- 
fore I was brought away from the country, & would have authenti- 
cated all just demands if I had remained, & they would have been 


paid, by orders of Commodore Stockton, if he had remained, out of 
naval funds as he paid other expenses of the conquest. 

The U.S. consul, Mr. Larkin, at Monterey, addressed a letter to 
Gen. Kearny, to be shown to the President — another to Mr. Bu- 
chanan, both printed in the document of evidence, page 17 &c., & of 
which the following are extracts: 

"The claimants made their advances, and performed their services, with 
good will and readiness, which our government will always find among 
our citizens; they had every reason to expect that their demands would be 
approved of and paid by the United States government. For some reason 
this has not been done, and the distress caused to the merchants is too 
plainly visible, in their having to pay 2 per cent, per month on their bor- 
rowed money. 

Emigrants who, in October and November, 1846, arrived here, singly 
and with families, with scarcely more than arms and ammunitions, wag- 
ons, oxen, mules, and harness, came forward and lent or sold this little, 
all to fight for their country, and secure California to the United States 
and make a home for themselves under our flag, as well as those who 
may come after them. The crush of their hopes, their own poverty — 
some of them even returning to their families on the Sacramento without 
decent clothing — are the sorrowful results. As regards the claimants of 
the campaign, you are fully informed of." 

"Commodore Stockton and Colonel Fremont have now superior 
officers in California, and from this reason, or some other, the greatest 
confusion relative to money affairs prevails in this territory. I have seen 
the prime of the last emigration travelling from the south to the Sacra- 
mento; some of them almost in rags, having spent their services, and sold 
their guns and wagons to government, for which they now suffer. I have 
given General Kearny a statement of facts, and have requested him to 
have an interview with the President on this subject." 

Policy, as well as Justice, requires these claims to be now paid with 
the least possible delay. Very respectfully. Sir, Your obt. servant, 

J. C. Fremont 
To the Hon. Mr. Marcy 
Secretary at War 

ALS (DNA-92, LR, 1852-54). This leuer may be found as an enclosure in 
the letter of Charles M. Conrad, Secretary of War, to C. F. Smith and other 
members of the board for the examination of claims contracted in California 
under Fremont, 27 Sept. 1852. JCF's letter was endorsed, "Rec. May 27 '48." 

1. See Vol. 2, pp. 428-29. 


2. JCF s quotations for the remainder of this letter are from "Report on Me- 
morial of J. C. Fremont," Senate Report 75, 30th Cong., 1st sess., Serial 512, and 
from "Message of the President of the United States communicating the pro- 
ceedings of the court-martial in the trial of Lieut. Col. Fremont," Senate Ex. 
Doc. a, 30th Cong., 1st sess., Serial 507. His quotations are in the form of pasted 
clippings from the documents. 

7. Jessie B. Fremont to John Torrey 

Washington City 
May 29th. 1848. 
My Dear Sir, 

Mr. Fremont is so pressed to finish his little memoir for the Senate, 
that he has asked me to send you the enclosed remnants of plants. 
They are the earliest flowering plants of the Joaquin valley (Cal.) and 
he would be much obliged if you could send him very soon, their 

Mr. Freculo [sicY, the French botanist, made Mr. Fremont a visit 
in which he talked over his intended explorations, so he has seen him. 

As he will have to go to the North Mr. Fremont hopes to see you 
before leaving for California, which he trusts will be in the coming 

Your wishes for my successful journey are a little premature. I shall 
go by the isthmus after the steamers commence running, a much less 
interesting, but shorter & safer way for women & children. I should 
have written to your daughter some time since in answer to her kind 
message but for some months I have been unwell & since the last of 
April I have not left my room, but have had a battle with a violent 
bilious fever, which like Bunyan's fight with ApoUyon was the dread- 
fullest fight I ever had. Like him, however I have gained the victory & 
I am more than willing not even to remember it. Very truly yours, 

Jessie Benton Fremont 

ALS (NNNBG — Torrey Correspondence). 

1. The French botanist Auguste A. L. Trecul (1818-96) was on his way to 
Kansas to collect specimens for the Museum National d'Histoire Naturelle in 
Paris. By September he was working on the Arkansas and Little Arkansas (mc 
KELVEY, 1048-52). 


8. Fremont to John Torrey 

Washington City June 4th. 1848. 
My Dear Sir, 

I send you this sketch,' from memory of the tree about which I 
wrote you, & which you thought was probably Abies Douglassii. It is 
called the Redwood in California, and I have measured them 275 feet 
high and 10 to 15 feet in diameter. 

I shall be glad to send you the proof sheets of the short memoir I 
am finishing, that you may pass judgment on the few botanical re- 
marks which are introduced. I suppose they will reach you at Prince- 
ton? Very truly yours, 

J. C. Fremont 

ALS (NNNBG — Torrey Correspondence). 
1. Not found. 

9. Charles Wilkes to the Editors 
of the National Intelligencer 

[Washington, 6 June 1848] 
Messrs. Gales & Seaton: 

On my return to the city, after a few weeks' absence, your paper of 
the 15th of May, containing some remarks on the errors existing in 
the charts of the northwest coast of California, by Col. Benton was 
brought to my notice.' Although I have no desire to detract from 
any one, yet I think it due others, as well as to the United States Ex- 
ploring Expedition, to place the following facts before the public re- 
specting the errors which did exist in the longitude of this coast, the 
"discovery" of which is now claimed to have been first made, and the 
errors corrected by Col. Fremont, "through a series of astronomical 
observations across the continent." 

Shortly after the publication of Vancouver s charts in 1798, errors 
were suspected to exist in them (his points were determined by lunar 
observations, and several chronometers, which latter performed but 
indifferently, and from these his results were obtained) from a differ- 


ence which was found between him and the Spanish surveying vessels, 
employed at the same time on the coast of California. The amount 
of error was not, however, truly ascertained until some years after 
this, when Captain [Frederick William] Beechey, of H. B. M. S. the 
Blossom, visited this coast in 1826. His observations were confirmed 
by Captain De Petit Thouars, in the French frigate La Venus, in 1836 
and 1837, and again by Captain Sir Edward Belcher, in H. B. M. sur- 
veying ship the Sulphur, in 1835; and it was again confirmed by the 
United States Exploring Expedition in 1841. 

These corrections were all made on the general charts published by 
order of Congress in 1844, from the surveys and examinations of the 
Exploring Expedition, and have been in possession of our ships navi- 
gating the Pacific Ocean since that time. 

By comparing dates, it will be perceived that these ''discoveries" 
were known long since, and that the actual amount of error was as- 
certained some twenty years ago by both the English and French ex- 
peditions, and were published by our own Government in the results 
of the Exploring Expedition, a year prior to the earliest date claimed 
by Col. Benton as the time when the observations of Lieut. Col. Fre- 
mont were made. With great respect, I am, yours, &c., 

Charles Wilkes 

Printed in National Intelligencer, 8 June 1848. 
1. See Doc. No. 4. 

10. Fremont to the Editors 
of the National Intelligencer 

Washington, June 8th, 1848 
Messrs. Gales and Seaton: 

In the absence of Col. Benton, and as the matter relates specially to 
myself, I desire to take some notice of the publication made in your 
paper of to-day by Captain Wilkes of the Navy, concerning the rec- 
tification of an error on our western coast. 

Capt. Wilkes could not have examined with much care the note of 
Col. Benton, which he undertakes to criticise, or he would have per- 
ceived that it is not against anything stated by Col. Benton, or claimed 


for the observations made by myself, that his strictures apply: but that 
his sole dispute, if he had any, is with the reports brought in by the 
sloop of war Portsmouth, Commander Montgomery, and only quoted 
in the note of Col. B. He must also have perceived, with a little more 
attention, that the word ''discovery^' which he has introduced as a 
quotation italicized, does not exist in Col. Benton's note: and hence 
that his use of the word, as if copied from Col. Benton's notes, is, in 
both instances unwarranted. 

The plain facts in the matter in question are these: In my map 
published in 1845, accompanying the report of the first and second 
expeditions under my command, the line of the Pacific coast was laid 
down (and so stated) according to the survey of Vancouver. It was 
introduced merely with a view to give a necessary completeness to the 
map of my reconnoissance, and without any attempt at a rectification 
of errors, which I supposed to come properly within the province of 
the naval exploring expedition which had recently surveyed the coast. 

In a recent expedition, having reference particularly to the geogra- 
phy on the Pacific coast, I was enabled to make "a series of observa- 
tions" in that country, depending on two main positions in the Sacra- 
mento valley established by lunar culminations. These observations 
were made in 1845 and 1846; they were calculated during the last 
winter by Professor Hubbard of the Washington Observatory. On lay- 
ing down the positions thus ascertained on the map, they were found 
not to correspond with the coast line as before projected. I was aware 
that there had been various surveys of the coast, and discrepancies be- 
tween the observations of the different navigators there. My observa- 
tions agreed nearly with those of Capt. Beechey; and I immediately 
wrote to the city of New York to procure, if any such had been pub- 
lished, a chart of the coast founded on the surveys of either Beechey or 
Belcher; but was informed that there was nothing of the kind known 
there. This being the case, I caused the line to be erased, and projected 
further west, in conformity with my own observations. The fact of 
this alteration was confined to myself and to Mr. Preuss, who was 
engaged in draughting a map, and was not intended to be brought to 
the public notice in any more prominent way than by the publication 
of the map and observations, to go for what they are worth, whether 
by themselves or in comparison. In the beginning of May, however, 
the arrival of the sloop of war Portsmouth, Commander Montgomery, 
from the Pacific Ocean, was announced with the information, brought 
by her, that the whale ship Hope had lately been lost on that coast in 


consequence of this same error still existing ''on the charts in common 
useT In connection with this, it was also stated that two British naval 
vessels were engaged in a new survey of the coast. The correction 
made in my map (then nearly completed, and since laid before the 
Senate) was then mentioned, and it was thought proper, for public 
information, to make a statement of the fact of the correction, which 
was accordingly done in the note of Colonel Benton, certainly without 
the intent to detract from the labors of Capt. Wilkes, or any one else, 
or to offer a remark that could have that effect. I had had the good 
fortune to find my observations in the Sacramento valley agree with 
those made in the same valley by Captain Belcher, but they differed 
with Capt. Wilkes by about a third of a degree of longitude. These 
recurring discrepancies presented an additional reason, as I judged, at 
a moment when a new survey, by foreign authority, was going on, for 
a public notice being made of my observations, which I conceived I 
had a right to give, with the rest, to be taken at their value. 

The purpose of Capt. Wilkes' note, as I understand it, is to show 
that the error in the geography of the coast was known many years 
ago, and is corrected on the charts published in 1844 by the Explora- 
tion Expedition under his command, and "in the possession of our 
ships navigating the Pacific Ocean since that time." This being admit- 
ted, it only brings Captain Wilkes in conflict with the information 
given to the press by the officer of the sloop Portsmouth, as this was the 
sole authority on which it was supposed that the "charts in common 
use" were erroneously projected, and that a note of correction of the 
error might be of interest and importance. 

It does not appear, however, why Captain Wilkes should have felt 
called upon to open a controversy on this matter in any shape. Cer- 
tainly, whatever merit the Exploring Expedition which he com- 
manded may have entitled itself to in the publication of corrections, it 
cannot claim any share of the making of them upon the coast in ques- 
tion, (that of Upper California). In his card of to-day. Captain Wilkes 
refers to and professes to have agreed with the observations of Sir Ed- 
ward Belcher. But, in point of fact, the discrepancy between positions 
of Captain Belcher and of Captain Wilkes is so great, as to have left 
the true geography of the coast more unsettled than before. Captain 
Belcher s observations, like those of Captain Wilkes, were extended 
into the Sacramento valley. Point Victoria, at the junction of Feather 
River with the Sacramento, is placed by Captain Belcher in longitude 
121° 35' 35" (Belcher, vol. 1, p. 122). As laid down by Captain Wilkes 


in his map, the same spot is about 30' or half a degree further west; so 
that Captain Wilkes must say either that he is himself wrong by a half 
a degree, or that Captain Belcher is. This is a large error to make in 
the position of a navigable river, within two degrees of the coast, par- 
allel to it, affecting the position of the whole valley, five hundred miles 
in length, at the foot of the Sierra Nevada, and necessarily impairs 
confidence in the position of the coast itself, with which it is connected. 

Previous to the publication of map of 1845, Captain Wilkes was 
good enough to furnish me with the position established by himself at 
New Helvetia, as is acknowledged in my report of that date, and as it 
is laid down upon the map then published. The results of my own 
observations made during a recent journey to California, compelled 
me materially to change this position, removing it about twenty miles 
to the eastward. The observations connected with these at this point 
extended through the Sacramento and San Joaquin valleys, which, 
with the dependent country, are accordingly placed upon the present 
map twenty miles further east. As already said, these positions agreed 
with Captain Belcher, and, being thus supported by his authority, and 
aware that my observations did not agree with those of Captain 
Wilkes, I did not further consult his maps or charts. I find to-day, 
however, by his map of Upper California, accompanying the fifth vol- 
ume of his Narrative, that he has laid down the whole extent of the 
Sacramento River more westerly than the longitude in which he had 
placed New Helvetia, and differing consequently by half a degree from 
Captain Belcher, whom he professes to concur with and corroborate. 

It is true that the line of the coast appears to have been laid down by 
Captain Wilkes in the position which the observations of Captain 
Beechey and Captain Belcher would assign to it. But it is very strange 
that, if he agreed with those officers so exactly on the coast, he should 
in the extention of his surveys through the short space of a degree 
differ with them by half a degree of longitude. Had Captain Wilkes 
referred the coast, by the true difference in longitude, to his observa- 
tions in the Sacramento valley, it would have been thrown as much 
too far west as Vancouver had placed it too far east. It would seem, 
then, that Captain Wilkes' observations do not form a connected "se- 
ries" which depend on each other, and that they do not corroborate or 
confirm previous surveys, except insomuch as they copy them. 

I infer from Captain Wilkes' card, that neither Captain Beechey 
nor Captain Belcher's survey caused the proper corrections to be made 
in the charts of the coasts, and that his publications of 1844 were the 


first to give the benefit of those older surveys to the seamen of the 
Pacific. In that case, the cause must have been that the true position of 
the coast was considered still uncertain at the Hydrographic Office in 
London; and this is the more probable from the fact that a new survey 
was being made last November. That Captain Wilkes added any- 
thing he does not pretend, and that our seamen need something more 
accurate than they have is shown by the recent fate of the ship Hope, 
and the report of her loss brought in by a naval vessel, whose officers 
may be supposed to know what are the charts most in use and most 

In conclusion, I would state that the observations which I have 
made, and on which the positions I have adopted depend, will be 
published^ in connection with a geographical memoir of California, 
laid before the Senate a few days ago; and since Captain Wilkes has 
thought proper to raise a controversy with me, I hope he will see the 
propriety of also publishing the observations, which, with his large 
equipment of instruments, he was so well prepared to make with ac- 
curacy. I have not learned that any such have been published, and 
have not the leisure to read through his work. 

}. C. Fremont 

Printed in National Intelligencer , 10 June 1848. 

11. Charles Wilkes to the Editors 
of the National Intelligencer 

[Washington, 12 June 1848] 

With much pleasure I avail myself of the call of Lt. Col. Fremont 
to give the public the required information in relation to the observa- 
tions made by the Exploration Expedition on the coast of California. 
It has been my constant desire to publish the astronomical and hydro- 
graphical results ever since the return of the Exploration Expedition, 
but from circumstances beyond my control the publication has been 
and will be delayed for some time. 

As Lt. Col. Fremont wishes the public to know why I controverted 


the first detection of the error in the longitude of the coast of CaHfor- 
nia, I will state that it arose from my desire to do justice to others and 
ourselves on an interesting point of geographical history, deemed 
of such high importance by Col. Benton as to cause him to claim, 
through the columns of your journal, that the merit of its detection 
was due to the labors of Col. Fremont, and also from a sense of duty 
to the public, to state what I knew had been previously done by others 
and ourselves. I am well satisfied the public will deem me justified in 
doing so, without impugning my motives. 

With reference to the longitudes on the Northwest Coast deter- 
mined by the Exploring Expedition, the limits of your whole paper 
would not more than suffice to give the details. I shall therefore con- 
tent myself with giving a general oudine of the manner in which the 
duty was performed, so as to be intelligible to every one, and refer to 
the actual results when they are published. 

Two observations were established, one at Nisqually, in Puget 
Sound, Oregon Territory, in latitude 47°, and the other at Sausalito, 
on the north side of the entrance in the bay of San Francisco, Califor- 
nia, in 37° 51' 00". At these positions, series of moon culminating 
stars, with both limbs of the moon, were taken, and the longitude 
deduced from intervals observed by W[illia]m Cranch Bond, Esq., at 
the Observatory, Cambridge, Massachusetts; by Lt. [James M.] Gillis, 
of the Navy, at Washington; and from those also at Greenwich, both 
calculated in the Nautical Almanac and observed. The first position, 
Nisqually, was by 46 moon culminating stars, and the second, Sau- 
salito, by 68. These two points, thus astronomically determined, were 
also connected by meridian distances through our chronometers, and 
found to correspond satisfactorily. All the intermediate points be- 
tween these two latitudes have been referred to one or the other, and 
most to both, through the agency of our chronometers. The longitude 
resulting from the mean of the 68 moon culminating stars at Sausalito 
places It m 122° 26' 06" 221'". 

The survey of the river Sacramento was intrusted to able officers, 
and seven boats, including the launch, with provisions, were em- 
ployed on this duty. To the untiring exertions and zeal of the party we 
are indebted for the accurate survey of the river, from its mouth at 
San Pablo, to head of navigation for boats. The survey was made by 
triangulation until the river became too narrow to work by that 
method; above that it was accomplished by azimuths and distances by 
sound. Four stations were occupied for longitude and latitude, the 


former being determined by chronometers through equal altitudes of 
the sun, and the latter by circum-meridian observations and by polaris. 
These positions have been compared with the surveys and proved sat- 
isfactory. The chronometer used was No. 972, Arnold and Dent, an 
excellent instrument. It was compared with the standard time at the 
Observatory before leaving, and after their return, a period of eigh- 
teen days; and its rate (which was small) determined during that in- 
terval by the Observatory time. The four positions I refer to above 
were Karguines [Carquinez] Straits, Capt. Sutter's Landing, Feather 
river, and the Fish weir at the head of navigation for canoes, and the 
resulting longitudes, from applying the meridian distances to that of 
Sausalito Observatory, were as follows: Karguines camp, 122° 10' 58" 
95'"; Capt. Sutter's Landing, 121° 22' 23" 55'"; Feather river, 121° 
29' 02" 60'"; Fish weir 121° 48' 38" 25'". 

The original chart of the river was plotted during the progress of 
the survey on a large scale, and is 27 feet in length. This I had the 
pleasure of showing to Col. Benton, Capt. Fremont (just after his re- 
turn from his second trip), and two or three other gentlemen, who 
called at my house to see it. This chart has been reduced, and is now 
engraved on a sufficiently large scale to show all the windings of the 
river. In February, 1845, Capt. Fremont wrote me a letter requesting I 
would give him the positions I had assigned Fort Vancouver and 
Capt. Sutter's Fort. The letter was forwarded to me at Philadelphia, 
where I was then engaged reading the proofs of my Narrative. The 
longitude given to Col. Fremont of Fort Vancouver was 122° 39' 34" 
.6W., and Capt. Sutter's Fort 121° 40' 05" — the same as given in the 
Narrative, and which was then believed to be correct. Subsequent cal- 
culations proved it to be erroneous. When this was discovered, one of 
the officers (Lt. [Henry] Eld), who was on very intimate terms with 
Capt. Fremont, asked me if he was at liberty to communicate it to 
Col. Fremont, and explain to him how it had occurred. To this I of 
course assented, and having since presumed it had been done, though 
I have no further knowledge of the fact. 

The above longitude of Feather River differs from that given by 
Belcher some five or six minutes, and not as stated by Col. Fremont 
some thirty minutes. In respect to the observations made on the Sac- 
ramento, by the able officers intrusted with that duty, I am satisfied 
that every confidence is to be placed in them both for longitude and 

I must here take exception to Col. Fremont comparing and mea- 


suring our longitudes from a small map eleven inches by eight, cover- 
ing seventeen degrees of longitude. 

Exception is also to be taken to his treating the minor points of our 
surveys as though they were principal ones, and governed our coast 
line; this cannot be permitted; he must well know that all points of 
longitude in a survey are derived from and referred to that occupied 
as an observatory, and that there is no other true course, and none 
other can with fairness be adopted in comparing the longitudes of 
different surveys. 

Capt. Beechey gives his longitude of Yerba Buena Cove from the 
results of twenty-two moon culminating stars, as 122° 27 23 . (See his 
Appendix, page 667, quarto, London). It will be seen that this differs 
from ours, and with all due deference to so able an observer, I have 
not the slightest doubt but that Capt. Beechey himself would, in 
weighing the testimony of the two, decide that the preference was to 
be given to our longitude, the result of sixty-eight culminations. Al- 
though we do not agree with Capt. Beechey, yet I consider we con- 
firm his longitudes. 

An inference may be drawn from a part of the remarks of Col. Fre- 
mont that the Exploration Expedition had depended for its results 
upon others. I have to inform him as well as others (to make use of a 
common expression), that the Expedition, wherever it did go, went on 
its own hoo\. 

Having thus considered the operations of the Exploring Expedi- 
tion, let us return to the point at issm before the public. Capt. Beechey 
established his observatory in November, 1827, near the fort at Mon- 
terey, from which can be seen ''Santa Cruz, near Anno Nuevo, the 
northwestern point of the bay of Monterey," where Col. Benton claims 
that Lieut. Col. Fremont made the observations which detected the 
error in the coast-line of California. Capt. Beechey has given the lon- 
gitude as 122° 51' 46", obtained from seven moon culminating stars. 
(See Appendix, page 668). Lieut. Col. Fremont admits that he agrees 
with Capt. Beechey in his longitudes, and it is, therefore, to be pre- 
sumed that it is with the longitude of Monterey or that of Yerba 
Buena Cove, which have been connected by Beechey and found to 
correspond. If he had a knowledge of these observations the public 
must be satisfied that Col. Benton was not authorized to claim the 
detection of an enor for Lieut. Col. Fremont in the longitude of the 
coast of California that had been previously known to him. The sur- 
veys reported to be in prosecution by Commander Montgomery, of 


the Portsmouth, relate no doubt to the G«^of California and its coast, 
and not to the Pacific coast of California, between Monterey and Cape 
San Lucas. This part of the coast is well known, and there are ample 
materials for its delineation in the possession of the British Admiralty. 
It is usual to account for the loss of a ship by imputing errors to the 
charts. No vessel ought to encounter wreck on a coast, except through 
stress of weather; it might happen on an insulated reef, rock, or islet; 
but on a coast, in fair weather, it must result either from ignorance or 
culpable neglect. 

As you, Messrs. Editors, truly observe, "this discussion is a matter 
purely scientific; difference of opinion cannot be any cause of quarrel, 
not even of unkind feeling." I therefore trust that, having felt none 
myself, I have been successful in avoiding giving cause for any to oth- 
ers. I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant, 

Charles Wilkes 

Printed in National Intelligencer, 14 June 1848. 

12. Fremont to the Editors 
of the National Intelligencer 

[Washington, 14 June 1848] 
Messrs. Gales and Seaton: 

I should not deem it necessary to trouble you or your readers with 
any further remarks on the subject which Capt. Wilkes has thought 
proper to invite a controversy with me, were it not for the very ex- 
traordinary position taken in his letter this morning, and which goes 
to the extent, in effect, of imputing unfairness in my references to his 
observations, because I tested them by the map and books which he 
has published, and not by the results of certain "subsequent calcula- 
tions," which are now for the first time made public. 

Not long after Captain Wilkes had been polite enough to furnish 
me, as stated in my former letter, with the position he had established 
for New Helvetia, I left the country on my third expedition; and nei- 
ther before my departure nor at any time until now, in the Intelli- 
gencer of this morning, did I ever learn that Capt. Wilkes had dis- 
covered the erroneousness of that position, nor do I now find that 


there are any errata or other memoranda in his book by which the 
correction is indicated; and I had not the power of clairvoyance to 
discover those "subsequent calculations" that seem to have been mean- 
time secure in his bureau.' Capt. Wilkes knew the use I was to make 
of the position with which he furnished me, and if, in fact, he made 
the discovery which he now announces at the time he states, while 
I was still here and my report and map open to correction, the in- 
difference which, according to his own showing, he manifested, was 
neither more nor less than wilfully to permit (or rather cause) the fur- 
ther propagation of error on his authority. I had applied to Captain 
Wilkes, in a written communication, for positions which would en- 
able me to connect my reconnoissance across the country with his sur- 
veys. His reply and the positions he furnished me came in the same 
shape. I received them and gave them to the public in full confidence; 
and I must confess my surprise — not to use a stronger term — now to 
learn that, on discovering that he had led me into so important an 
error, he had not at once given me the proper correction in the most 
authentic form. 

Undoubtedly the positions now set down by Capt. Wilkes for the 
Sacramento valley agree closely with the fact; but he gives them now 
for the first time, and it is most unwarrantable, his assertion that it 
was with reference to these new positions that I had said he differed 
half a degree of longitude from Capt. Belcher. I had never heard 
of these new positions and could not have spoken of them. It was 
with reference to Capt. Wilkes's published worlds, which have now 
been before the public uncorrected for the space of three years, that I 
said and repeat that his positions differ half a degree from those of 
Capt. Belcher, whom he assumes, in his letter of Thursday last, to 
agree with and corroborate. 

I wish it to be borne in mind that it was not in an invidious spirit, 
or for any purpose of attack, that I pointed out this remarkable dis- 
crepancy. Capt. Wilkes claimed in his note to have published a correct 
delineation of the western coast prior to any observations which I had 
made there; and my only object was to show why, if such were the 
fact, I was not aware of it. The reason was this, that on comparing the 
position he has given me in the Sacramento valley with my own ob- 
servations, I perceived that there was the wide difference of twenty 
miles of longitude between us, and I supposed that his observations 
would agree with each other, and of course the same disagreement 
between his positions and mine would exist on the coast. I did not 


know that he had published maps or charts on other surveys than his 
own, and hence did not further consult his labors. When, however, he 
raised this controversy, and referred in his note to Capt. Belcher s ob- 
servations as being in agreement with his, I found it proper to consult 
his published works, and to show, in self-defence, that in the discrep- 
ancy between us he was not thus supported by Capt. Belcher, but dif- 
fered widely from him. 

If Captain Wilkes intends, by taking exception to my reference to 
his map, published with the fifth volume of his narrative, to say that 
his map is incorrect and of no authority, then I admit it would be 
improper to use it against him hereafter. But this disavowal comes too 
late to affect anything that has gone before; and, moreover, if the map 
is to be thus discarded, and also the positions given in the text, now, 
after a lapse of three years, to be erased and different ones substituted, 
in what part of the eight magnificent volumes can we be certain that 
"subsequent calculations" have not detected inaccuracies hereafter to 
be exhibited? It is idle to intimate that in a map, on the scale of that 
given in the narrative of Captain Wilkes (volume 5, beginning of 
chapter 5), and executed with so much precision and neatness, with 
the meridians and parallels of latitude drawn at distances of single 
degrees, discrepancies in position of such an extent as twenty to thirty 
minutes, cannot properly be examined. For what purpose are the lines 
of longitude and latitude drawn upon the map at all, if the position of 
places and objects given are not to be measured and ascertained by 
them.^ If the differences in question were slight, no notice would have 
been taken of it; but this broad discrepancy of half a degree is as pal- 
pable and as open to criticism as if the map which shows it were 
twenty times its actual scale; and this more especially when it relates 
to a section which was the object of a particular, extended, and careful 
survey, as Captain Wilkes informs us was the case with the river Sac- 
ramento, and embraces not an isolated point, but the whole of that 

But Captain Wilkes further takes exception, and "cannot permit" 
that I shall "treat the minor points of his survey as principal ones." 
Nor have I done so; but surely there ought to be some degree of accor- 
dance between the minor points and the principal ones, and if a large 
error be found in the minor, a corresponding error will be inferred in 
the principal. Besides this is not the error of a single "minor point," 
but a series of errors running through the observations made in some 
hundreds of miles. And, furthermore, Capt. Wilkes informs us in his 


narrative, that a prominent point in the Sacramento valley — the 
Prairie Buttes (isolated mountains) — formed "one of the connecting 
links" between two surveying parties of his expedition, one coming 
from the north, the other from the south, and ''served to verify their 
respective observations!' Surely it was fair to conclude that the observa- 
tions thus "connected" and "verified," whether made at mmor points 
or principal ones, were intended to be taken for correct, and the posi- 
tions laid down accordingly. Again, these Buttes, "particularly de- 
scribed" in the narrative, and thus forming a "connecting link" and 
point of "verification" for the surveys of the expedition, are conspic- 
uously laid down by Captain Wilkes on his map, with the meridian 
of 122° passing through them. Now, does Captain Wilkes wish us to 
believe that all this stands for nothing? Does he mean to intimate that 
positions thus noted by him, and conspicuously brought forward in 
the book and on the map, are not to be criticised because they are 
minor, not principal parts in his surveys? 

Considered with relation to the position assigned to the Sacra- 
mento River, the Buttes are rightly placed on the map; but, "connect- 
ing link" and point of "verification" as they are, they require, along 
with the whole extent of the river, to be removed many miles (in no 
part less than twenty) further east, in order to correspond with their 
true longitude. The errors, therefore, cannot be laid to the execution 
of the map, which is thus shown to be drawn with care, and to agree 
with itself. It will also be noted that, as two surveys were here "con- 
nected" and "verified" — if, in fact, the errors, which run through the 
line, were the result, as we are now informed, of wrong ''calculations',' 
instead of wrong "observations," they involve a most remarkable se- 
ries of blunders, embracing the surveys of the parties both from the 
north and the south. 

I will copy here the longitude given by Capt. Wilkes in his boo\, 
contrasted with those he now, for the first time, offers as from "subse- 
quent calculations." In his book (4th edition), he places New Helvetia 
in longitude 121° 40' 05"; in his letter of today he gives 121° 22' 23" 
55"'; as the longitude of a point, (Sutter's landing) near two miles 
west of New Helvetia. The "Fish weir, at the head of navigation" he 
gives in his book at 122° 12' 17" — his present correction brmgs it 121° 
48' 38" 25"'. The mouth of Feather River I do not find noted in his 
book; in his new correction he assigns it 121° 29' 02" 60"' — on his 
map it is placed some minutes west of XTT. A relative position given to 


the coast, I repeat, would have thrown it as much too far west as Van- 
couver has placed it too far east. 

I will not, however, here question Capt. Wilkes' observations on 
the coast, or further inquire whether they ought to be said to copy or 
corroborate those of Capt. Beechey; neither will 1 question that the 
longitudes now given by Capt. Wilkes for his positions in the Sacra- 
mento valley are the true results of his observations there, corrected by 
"subsequent calculations;" but I will say that, after suppressing the 
discovery of the errors he now announces for a space of three years, he 
has lost any right to plead then for any purpose; least of all, for the 
purpose of finding fault with those who have innocently taken his 
book and map for authentic records. 1 must, moreover, be allowed to 
inquire what degree of credit can further attach to a work which, got 
ready with four years' preparation, its author, three years subsequent 
to its publication, thus comes forward to discredit? 

J. C. Fremont 

Printed in National Intelligencer, 16 June 1848. 

1. By these statements JCF appears to deny that Lieut. Eld had informed 
him of the corrections, as Wilkes had implied in his 12 June letter. 

13. Charles Wilkes to the Editors 
of the National Intelligencer 

[16 June 1848] 

It is not my intention to trespass upon your columns, or to weary 
the patience of your readers; but I feel constrained to offer a few 
words in reply to Lieut. Col. Fremont's article in your paper of this 

As the object which was at issue before the public is not touched 
upon in Lieut. Col. Fremont's last article, I consider it therefore as 
ended, and that the testimony that I have adduced of Capt. Beechey 's 
observations at Monterey and Verba Buena are entirely satisfactory to 
show that Col. Benton was not authorized to claim for Lieut. Col. Fre- 
mont the detection of the error in longitude of the coast of California. 


Lieut. Col. Fremont's absence from the country on arduous duty 
may perhaps be a sufficient apology for his being uninformed of what 
has been done or published during the time, but I do not think he can 
be held justified for making against me so sweeping a charge as he 
had done, of withholding and suppressing corrections from the pub- 
lic, when a slight examination or some little inquiry would have satis- 
fied him he was in error, especially as it is a fact that the desire to meet 
his inquiries and oblige him was in part the cause of the errors of the 
longitude he makes mention of on a small map, the corrections of 
which errors were made a short time afterwards, and I fully believed 
had been furnished to Lieut. Col. Fremont by Lieut. Eld, as stated in 
my last communication. Respectfully, yours, &c., 

Charles Wilkes 
Printed in National Intelligencer , 19 June 1848. 

14. Fremont to the Editors 
of the National Intelligencer 

[Washington, 20 June 1848] 
Messrs. Gales & Seaton: 

I must confess my inability to understand what Capt. Wilkes in- 
tends to signify, in his letter of yesterday, by stating that his desire to 
oblige me was one cause of the errors in his map of California. I do 
not perceive what connection I had with those mistakes, other than to 
have been grossly misled by placing confidence in the positions which 
he furnished me. Apart from those I never saw any observations or 
calculations of Capt. Wilkes, and I never saw his publications till 
since the beginning of the present correspondence. If he means that in 
his haste to furnish me with positions I had requested, the erroneous 
calculations were made, to which he now attributes his mistaken lon- 
gitudes, I answer that his expedition had been nearly four years 
returned, his publications were nearly through the press, and it is 
extraordinary if his calculations had not been made, and even the 
identical map (which he would thus seem disposed to hold me re- 
sponsible for the blunders of) both drawn and engraved. Moreover, I 


had understood from Capt. Wilkes' first letter that his charts had 
been published the year previous to my application to him, and it 
would seem that his positions ought to have been calculated previous 
to the making of his charts. The truth is Capt. Wilkes led me into 
error. According to his present showing, he discovered very soon after 
that he had done so. I must be permitted to believe that had his desire 
to oblige me been so strong as is now intimated, he would have taken 
the trouble to apprise me of his mistake, which he never did. I dis- 
covered the error of the position he had given me in the Sacramento 
valley from observations made during my late tour. I did not suspect, 
and had no reason to suspect, that he had made any subsequent rec- 
tification, and hence I was led into the second error (if it be an error) 
of supposing that the coast was still erroneously laid down. I ascer- 
tained, as far as I was able to make inquiry, that no chart of the coast 
had been issued by Beechey or Belcher; I knew that Capt. Wilkes was 
the last surveyor there; I knew that my observations differed from 
what he had furnished me as his by about twenty miles, in the Sacra- 
mento valley, and took it for granted that forty miles further west the 
same disagreement would exist; and so corrected the oudine of my 
map according to my own observations. The report shordy after 
brought in by one of our public vessels of the wreck of a ship on the 
coast in consequence of error in "the charts in common use," was con- 
sidered good reason for making known that a different projection of 
the coast would appear on the forthcoming map. If, then, there was 
any error in this, or in the manner of its announcement, it is attributa- 
ble entirely to the wrong information given me by Capt. Wilkes, and 
his failure to inform me of the fact, if he afterwards discovered the 
error he had led me into, and which I had published on his authority; 
for I could not be expected to look to his publications for a correct 
delineation of the coast, when I knew that forty miles off he had 
made so large an error. 

But it is clear that, if, as Captain Wilkes informs us, he has made a 
publication of charts which give the necessary correction of the coast, 
he must have abandoned his otvn survey for the purpose, and proceeded 
entirely by the observations of others. He published his charts, according 
to his note of the 6th instant, inviting this controversy, "in 1844." Now, 
it was in the winter of 1844-45, that he furnished me the positions 
which, according to his own showing, are so erroneous; and, still later, 
his own books contain the same and many corresponding errors. His 
positions, Capt. Wilkes informs us, were determined by the establish- 


ment of two observations — one at Nisqually, in Puget s Sound (the 
longitude of which, nevertheless, he does not furnish us with), and the 
other SausaHto, at the north side of the entrance to the Bay of San 
Francisco — and the reference of all the intermediate points to one or 
the other, and most of them to both of these main positions. Now, I 
will venture to say that all these "intermediate points," thus "referred," 
and, as appears by the narrative, "connected" and "verified," could not 
contain a common error, as they do, both in the map and text of 
Capt. Wilkes' book, without a like error in the main positions. Hence, 
if Capt. Wilkes published a correction of the coast, in charts of 1844, 
he must have done it on the labors of others; for he does not pretend 
to have discovered the erroneousness of his own calculations till after 
the issuing of his book in 1845. 

I apprehend, Messrs. Editors, that, notwithstanding the charts pub- 
lished by Capt. Wilkes, and the labors of the British officers, whom 
he quotes and seems to have copied, when the whole truth comes to 
be investigated, it will be found that the proper position of the coast is 
not much better ascertained now than it was near sixty years ago. My 
occupation has been that of reconnaissance and survey inland, and my 
attention had not been directed to the state of the surveys on the coast 
beyond the very narrow inquiry — when I found my observations to 
be at variance with those of Vancouver, and still more so with those of 
Capt. Wilkes — whether Beechey or Belcher had published a corrected 
chart. Since the commencement of this correspondence, however, I 
have given the subject some more examination. The Spanish naviga- 
tor, [Alessandro] Malaspina, to the merits of whom Humboldt bears 
such honorable testimony, and whose subsequent misfortunes and po- 
litical persecution gave a peculiar interest to such portion of his labors 
as they did not destroy, made a survey of this coast in 1791. His longi- 
tudes, as far as I have been able to examine them, were nearly correct. 
Vancouver followed immediately after, and his surveys, disagreeing 
with Malaspina s, threw the coast from a third to a half degree too far 
east; subsequent surveys, as far as they have made any change, are but 
little more than restoring the positions of Malaspina. 

As for Capt. Wilkes' renewed objection to having his "small map" 
taken for a test, I have to remark, that corresponding errors with 
those in his "small map," appear in his larger map of Oregon, and in the 
text of his Narrative, and I am not acquainted with any other publica- 
tions he had made. If he objects to having it said that he has sup- 


pressed or withheld his corrections, surely he ought to point where 
and when he has made them public. 

I wish again to make the remark that this controversy is not of my 
seeking. When I discovered the great erroneousness of the positions 
Capt. Wilkes had given me, I contented myself by quietly making the 
corrections on my map.' I had received them in good faith as the re- 
sult of his observations, and supposed them to be given the same way, 
and should have studiously avoided, therefore, any mention of the dis- 
crepancy. Had I known, however, what he now informs us of, that he 
had shortly afterwards found those positions to be incorrect, and yet 
left me in ignorance of the rectification, to make an erroneous pub- 
lication, I should not have been so silent. 

I stated in my first letter that I did not see why Captain Wilkes had 
thought himself called on to provoke this controversy, since whatever 
his merit in the publication of corrections on the coast of California, he 
could not claim any share in the making of them. I am now still more 
at a loss to know why he felt concerned in the matter, for it has be- 
come still more plain that he could not have supposed himself in any 
way wronged. His surveys not only do not make any corrections on 
the coast of California, but I feel warranted in saying that his entire 
surveys in Oregon and California, as far as they follow his own obser- 
vations, are erroneously laid down in his published works. 

J. C. Fremont 

Printed in National Intelligencer , 22 June 1848. 

1. wicKMAN, 146, notes that Fremont had engaged in the same kind of ac- 
tivity of which he accused Wilkes — not notifying him of corrections. If Fremont 
had discovered that some of Wilkes's positions were incorrect, why did he not 
inform Wilkes? 

15. Charles Wilkes to the Editors 
of the National Intelligencer 

[Washington, 22 June 1848] 
Messrs. Editors: 

Lieut. Col. Fremont deems that I have provoked this controversy 
relative to the correction of an error in the longitude of the coast of 


California. If any provocation has excited it, it was the pubHcation of 
Col. Benton's card in your papers of the 15th of May, which I well 
knew to be a mistake, and which Lieut. Col. Fremont fully admits in 
his article of to-day, having discovered, on examination (since this con- 
troversy began,) that Malaspina s observations on the coast of Califor- 
nia, made in 1791, were correct. If this search had been made, the 
claim of Col. Benton on behalf of Lieut. Col. Fremont would not 
have been put forth, for it would have resulted, as it had done, in 
finding the authorities spoken of in my first article, and settled all 
priority in his mind as to the claim of subsequent explorers, and 
avoided the appearance of his being on either horn of a dilemma. 

The public mind, I think, will be satisfied now that there was no 
ground for the claim set up, and my end has been obtained, notwith- 
standing some sharp firing has been directed against the Exploring 

In concluding this subject, I cannot subscribe to the idea enter- 
tained by Lieut. Col. Fremont that when the Exploring Expedition 
agree with him it must be correct: but, when it differs, in e^ror. I am, 
very respectfully, 

Charles Wilkes 

Printed in National Intelligencer, 23 June 1848. This final letter in the contro- 
versy was not reprinted in bigelow. 

16. Fremont to John Torrey 

Washington City 22d June 1848 
My dear Sir, 

I have referred in the pamphlet on California, now being printed, 
to the Red wood tree as "Cypress (Thuya)." I sent you the drawing in 
order that you might be satisfied that it was not an abies. The Cedar 
to which we have referred in the report, as being from 120 to 130 feet 
high belongs to a different tribe; it, must certainly be ajuniperus — , its 
foliage is much the same as that of the redwood, but it bears berries 
like those of the common cedar. 

You will see by the pamphlet that it is not owing to particu- 
larly favorable locality that the redwood I mentioned attained such 
great size. 


I have frequently measured them nine, ten and eleven feet diame- 
ter, and they are the tallest forest trees on the western coast. I have 
been looking over Douglass' notes on California, and think that he 
refers to the same tree, when he speaks of a species of taxodium. 

I daily expect our plants. The vessel which has them on board hav- 
ing put into Rio Janiero on her way home on the 28th of March. 
Please let me know if you think it safe to let the words "a cypress 
(Thuya)" remain. I think it is about the truth. 

I shall soon obtain leisure now to arrange for the journey west and 
will try to see you before going. Yours truly, 

J. C. Fremont 

Dr. Torrey 

ALS (NNNBG — Torrey Correspondence). 

17. Excerpt from a Letter 
of John Torrey to Fremont 

[ca. 1 July 1848] 

After incessant working on the California plants, from the time 
they were received till this moment I have secured all that were not 
decomposed, and have the entire collection in clean dry paper.' The 
loss of one or two boxes, and the partial injury of some others, we can 
well bear, when the rest are so valuable. Of those that were spoiled I 
trust there were duplicates of the greater part in the rest of the herbar- 
ium. No doubt there are many new species among your discoveries. 
The pines are well represented and most ot them can be drawn so as 
to show all the essential parts. As soon as I get Captain Wilkes' plants 
off my hands, I shall attack these with vigor. How much I regret not 
having a botanical artist at my elbow, as my friend Dr. [Asa] Gray 
has. Now that the doctor has undertaken the great bulk of the explor- 
ing expedition botany, he will, I fear, need the whole of Mr. [Isaac] 
Sprague's (his artist's) time. 

The only way to have our work properly executed is, either to im- 
port an artist (and one could be got at a very moderate salary) or to 
send the specimens from time to time, to Europe, where they might 
be drawn and put at once upon the stone. . . . 


Please let me know what I am to do about drawings of your new 
and rare plants. They ought to be put in hand soon, as it will take a 
long time to get them properly done. At any rate, I will send a few to 
Europe immediately, and have then drawn under the eye of Pro- 
fessors Jussieu and Decaisne.' We can then find exactly what they will 
cost. Do you not think that the forest trees ought to be done in a style 
and size with Michaux's Sylva? A supplementary volume, or distinct 
work rather, on the trees of California and Oregon, would be a most 
acceptable gift, not only to botanists, but to men of trade and lovers of 
nature generally.^ 

Was I right in supposing the Taxodium sempervirens to be your 
great cedar? The Thuya does not grow to the enormous size that you 
mention; but the Taxodium '' does. What a pity there was not time to 
get a figure of it ready for your report. 

Printed in Senate Committee Report 226, 30th Cong., 1st sess., pp. 7-8, Serial 
512; also National Intelligencer, 5 Aug. 1848. As chairman of the committee, Sen- 
ator Sidney Breese attached the letter to his report in order to indicate to the 
Senate the scientific richness of JCF's work, and hence the expediency of having 
it continued by the government. 

1. On 1 July Torrey had written a fellow scientist, Jacob Whitman Bailey, an 
interesting account of the arrival of the plants, how they had been packed, and 
the value of the collection: 

"Two days ago the long-expected plants of Fremont's last expedition arrived. 
One of his people was sent on to the Navy Yard in Brooklyn to take them out of 
the Erie, lately arrived -& bring them here. There were two huge cases — filled 
with the tin cases, which were just in the state they were in when taken from the 
backs of the mules in California. The cases were soldered up after being filled 
with dried plants — then guarded by a strong frame of wood, & finally sowed up 
in a green cowhide. Some of the specimens were damaged owing to the cases 
having been broken, but most of the contents were in good order. A great many 
of the plants are quite new. You would have been amused to see the unpacking 
under the shade of trees in our lawn. Fremont's man, & my two small boys had 
business for several hours. It was quite difficult to cut away the hard & tough 
skins, & then to open & examine the boxes. There must be a thousand species of 
plants in the collection. Also several cases of pine cones, fruit &c. Fremont is 
going out again, & will doubtless be as active & zealous as ever in observing the 
Botany of his favorite regions. His plants will all fall into my hands, & I shall 
give account of them in a work on California which he intends writing" (Mu- 
seum of Science Library, Science Park, Boston, Mass. — J. W. Bailey Papers). 

2. French botanist Adrien de Jussieu (1797-1853) had succeeded his father as 
professor of rural botany in the Museum of Natural History in 1826 and in 1845 
had become professor of vegetable organography to the Faculte des Sciences. For 
a time Joseph Decaisne (1808-82) served under Jussieu as aide-naturalist at the 
museum, but in 1850 was made director of the famous Jardin des Plantes of 

3. Benton attempted unsuccessfully to get Congress to appropriate $4,000 to 


compensate Torrey for his services in classifying the plants and to defray the 
costs of engraving {Congressional Globe, 5 Aug. 1848) 

4. The Taxodium was JCF s cypress. See Sequoia sempervirens in Index. 

18. James Alden to Fremont 

Navy Yard, Boston 
July 2d. 1848 
My dear Sir 

Although I have not the pleasure of a personal acquaintance with 
you, I cannot refrain from expressing my satisfaction at the manner in 
which you have exposed in your recent letters to the Editors of the Na- 
tional Intelligencer, misstatements published by Commander Wilkes 
in his account of the U.S. Ex. Expedition. I take the liberty of enclos- 
ing in the form of a letter a few statements of the truth of which I am 
positive, proving that Comr. Wilkes' error with regard to the position 
of the Sacramento R. was by no means a solitary instance of the kind, 
but that in his case, blundering and misrepresentation of the grossest 
kind, were the rule, and not the exception. 

The interest I feel in the subject will, I hope, induce you to excuse 
the liberty I take in thus addressing you. 

The enclosed is entirely at your service for any use which you may 
feel inclined to make of it. With great respect I am your Servt. 

James Alden 
Lt. U.S. Navy 


Col. J. C. Fremont 

Washington, D.C. 

James Alden to Fremont 

Navy Yard, Boston 
July 1st. 1848 

At the close of one of your letters to the Editors of the National 
Intelligencer upon the subject of your controversy with Comr. Wilkes, 
I find the following remark "I must moreover be allowed to enquire 


what degree of credit can further attach to a work which got ready 
with four years preparation, its author, three years subsequent to its 
publication thus comes forward to discredit." 

No doubt you and all persons who have read the correspondence 
above referred to have made up your minds very conclusively as to the 
precise degree of credit to be given to statements resting on the sole 
authority of Comr. Wilkes, but as I was an officer of the Exploring 
Expedition during the whole period of its absence from the U.S. and 
a careful observer of all its proceedings, I take the liberty of stating a 
few facts that came under my own observation, which may show that 
the blunders of Comd. Wilkes in relation to the position of the Sacra- 
mento River was by no means the only one of the kind that he com- 
mitted during the cruise, and which may also show how far the U.S. 
Ex. Expedition is entided to the credit so confidendy claimed for it by 
Capt. Wilkes of having always gone "on its own hook." 

During the entire absence of the Expedition it was the constant 
practice whenever an opportunity at sea or in port to compare the 
Chronometers of the different vessels with those of the Flag Ship, and 
from these comparisons Comr. Wilkes always furnished the Comrs. 
of each vessel with the rate and error of their Chrors. These compari- 
sons were frequendy made at Orange Harbour near Cape Horn, 
where an observatory was established and where Comr. Wilkes as- 
serted that he had discovered an error of some thirty or forty miles in 
the position assigned to that place by that celebrated Hydrographer 
Capt. Ring [King] R. N. Shordy after leaving Orange Harbour and 
by the first land that was made (The Island of Mocha and the Coast 
of Chili) it was discovered that the chronometers of the Vincennes — 
the standard by which all the other vessels of the Squadron were navi- 
gating, the unfortunate Sea Gull among the number, was greatly out 
of the way, and would have soon run her high & dry on that coast. 
The Vincennes, however, escaped destruction by giving the land 
about Cape Horn a wide berth, but I would ask, if this great error, for 
which Comr. Wilkes is solely responsible, may not have occasioned 
the loss of the ill fated Sea Gull with all on board. 

The sailing directions for the entrance of the Columbia River 
which were furnished by Comr. Wilkes to Commodore [Alexander 
James] Dallas, the late commander of the Pacific Squadron, when ap- 
plied to the chart of that entrance published by Comr. Wilkes, and 
made by Messrs. [Samuel R.] Knox, [William] Reynolds & [James L.] 
Blair, three officers of the Expedition in whom skill & accuracy of the 


utmost reliance can be placed, will inevitably carry a vessel upon the 
middle ground, the most dangerous part of that entrance, and the very 
place which Comr. Wilkes says should be most carefully avoided. This 
I have proved by a comparison of the sailing directions with the chart, 
and several officers, whose attention I have called to the subject, have 
arrived at the same conclusions as myself. 

The Fiji Islands were surveyed by the Expedition in the usual 
manner & plotted on a plain scale: afterwards Mercators projection 
was applied to it, and Comr. Wilkes insisted upon allowing sixty miles 
to a degree of longitude instead of making the necessary correction 
for the diminution for the degrees of longitude corresponding to the 
latitude of the place, the obvious effect of this error is to assign incor- 
rect dimensions to the whole group. 

Commander Wilkes has asserted in one of his letters that the Ex. 
Ex. "went entirely on its own hook" probably meaning that he was 
indebted to no one for any of the charts or surveys published in the 
account of that Expedition. But he has published a chart of the Soolo 
fSulu] Sea & Archipelago together with a quantity of miscellaneous 
information connected with it, as if the chart, and nearly all of the 
information were the fruits of his own great labor and a long and 
careful examination, while it is notorious that the Vincennes & the 
Flying Fish merely sailed through that extensive Sea, the first named 
alone making only a few hasty observations & was employed about 
one fortnight making a chart now wholly claimed as the title shows 
"By the U.S. Ex. Expedition." 

He has also published under the same authority charts of the entire 
group of the Sandwich, and other Islands, and a great portion of the 
map of Oregon as if he had thoroughly surveyed and examined all 
these places, which he never did, but has borrowed or stolen, which- 
ever may be the proper expression the greater part of these charts and 
of that information from the abler and more honest navigators who 
have preceded him. 

A map of Upper California is also published by Comr. Wilkes un- 
der the title, "By the U.S. Exploring Expedition and best authorities!' 
Now the only part of Upper California actually surveyed by the Expe- 
dition is the Sacramento River, & Comr. Wilkes has committed an 
error of some twenty or thirty miles in the position he has assigned to 
this River in his published map. The whole remaining part of Upper 
California, comprising an extent of seventeen degrees of longitude & 
ten degrees of latitude with its entire coast, is borrowed from the "best 


authorities," and it is perhaps fortunate that no blunders of C. Wilkes 
can unsettle the geography of any other part of this country. 

I have taken the liberty of addressing these remarks to you from a 
feeling that it is my duty as an officer of the Ex. Expedition to do all 
in my power to expose a few of the gross blunders & misrepresenta- 
tions that abound in every part of the account published by Com- 
mander Wilkes. 

Most of the officers of the Ex. Expedition, many of whom are now 
in Washington, can vouch for the correctness of the statements that I 
have made. I am very respectfully Your Obt. Servt. 

James Alden 
Lt. U.S. Navy 


Col. J. C. Fremont 
Washington D.C. 

ALS (CSmH). James Alden (1810-77) had served as a lieutenant in the South 
Sea Exploring Expedition, and Wilkes's Narrative in effect had blamed Alden's 
inattention to duty for the Fijians' murder of two of the officers at Malolo. Al- 
den, however, was not the only officer who felt he had been unjustly and cruelly 
libeled by Wilkes (see Memorial of the Officers of the Exploring Expedition, 
II Jan. 1847, 29th Cong., 2nd sess.. Senate Doc. 47, [Serial 494]). Wilkes had 
already been court-martialed for illegally punishing some of his men (stanton, 

19. Fremont to J. J. Abert 

Washington City, July 13th 1848 

During my connection with the various geographical expeditions 
west of the Mississippi, a considerable amount of property was pur- 
chased on account of the Government. 

As you are aware, the greater part of this property was of a perish- 
able nature, being intended solely for the support and carrying on of 
the expeditions, and from the nature of the duty subject to constant 
waste and loss. A greater part of this property has been expended in 
the public service and what has not been so expended has been ac- 
counted for by bills of sale, and by receipts from Quartermasters, 
Ordnance and other officers. 


Being now on the eve of an absence from the country, and desirous 
as far as possible to close my accounts with the Departments, I have to 
request that you will produce for me the necessary credit for such 
expenditures, or in any other proper way release me from my present 
responsibility. I have the honor to be very respectfully Your Obt. Servt. 

J. C. Fremont. 

Copy (DNA-217, T-135). 

20. Fremont to James Alden 

Washington City August 11th. 1848 
My dear Sir, 

I have had the gratification to receive your letter [Doc. No. 18] and 
in the press of business on the eve of a departure from the country, 
together with a desire to acquaint you with the use I had made of it, 
have delayed a reply longer than I had intended. Had it arrived in 
time it would have most fully sustained me before the public, but, as 
my correspondence with Capt. Wilkes had already finished when it 
reached me, I availed myself of your permission to give your letter to 
Col. Benton, who used it in the Senate a few days since in connection 
with one of a similar character from Capt. Montgomery.' 

I have been much gratified to find that the officers of the Expedi- 
tion have correctly understood the nature of the controversy with 
Capt. Wilkes, which was wholly personal to himself, and directed 
on my part only to the operations which he claimed exclusively as 
his own. 

I will avail myself of a future occasion to publish the letter, as 
together with the facts already made public, it wholly justifies the 
charges which I felt warranted to make. In the meantime I beg you to 
accept my acknowledgments for your kindness which I shall be very 
happy to reciprocate whenever the opportunity offers. I am with re- 
gard Very respectfully yours, 

J. C. Fremont 
Lt. James Alden 
U.S. Navy 



1. The editor was unable to find in the Congressional Globe the use Benton 
had made of the letter. 

21. Fremont to George Engelmann 

Washington City, August 13th. 1848 
My dear Sir, 

Yours of the 27th I received only yesterday. A few days after you 
receive this I expect to see you in St. Louis and therefore only write 
briefly to say that your letter arrived too late to do anything for 
[Charles] Schreiber this session. It found Congress in the last days of 
the session battling its most important bills, & when no other business 
could possibly be introduced. I will leave it with Mrs. Fremont and if 
any thing can be done for him the coming winter it will give her 
pleasure to have it done. 

Until seeing you, with regards to Dr. Wistlizenus [Wislizenus], I 
am Very truly yours, 

J. C. Fremont 
Dr. Engelmann 

ALS-JBF (MoSB). Endorsed: "Rec'd. Aug. 21." 

22. Committee of the Citizens 
of Charleston to Fremont 

[18 August 1848] 
Dear Sir: 

It was a privilege, as a committee of a public meeting of the citizens 
of Charleston, brought together for the purpose of expressing their 
sense of the distinguished services rendered by you to our common 
country and the cause of science, to communicate, in anticipation of 
your arrival from California, through Mrs. Fremont, the complimen- 
tary resolutions to which we have referred.' 


One of these resolutions contemplated the gift and presentation to 
you in person of a sword ornamented with such devices as would in- 
dicate to you, and your children after you, that as citizens of South 
Carolina, we take pride in greeting you as a son who has done her 
honor, and honor to our common country, by sustaining, under diffi- 
cult, delicate, and trying circumstances, calling for the most self- 
possessed courage, prompt sagacity, and fertility of resource, the glory 
of the national colors; and in another field, not less exalted by labors 
attended with scarcely less peril, exposure, and hardship, wrought out 
for your country and the world, as an explorer and discoverer in wild 
and inhospitable regions, a most valuable contribution to the cause of 

We " regret that circumstances deny to us the pleasure of welcom- 
ing you to our city, and rendering to you in person this humble token 
of our sense of your distinguished merit, and shall be compelled to 
beg your acceptance of it at the hands of another; but we trust that, 
though we shall not [be] permitted the gratification of delivering it 
directly into your keeping, yet that it will come to you none the less 
acceptably, but with added value, from our patriotic representative, 
the honorable Robert Barnwell Rhett. 

We cannot, dear sir, feel that we have fully discharged our pleasant 
duty, without expressing the fervent wish that you may be long spared 
to the country you have so well and so faithfully served; and that in 
whatever field it may be your lot in future to labor, that success in 
keeping with past achievement and desert may crown your efforts 
and cheer you in an ever onward and upward career. 

We have the honor to be, most truly, your friends and fellow- 

[Signed by the committee^ 

Printed in Washington Daily Union, 25 Aug. 1848. Although this letter was 
obviously written before 18 Aug. 1848, it has been given this date in order that it 
may appear immediately before JCF's reply (Doc. No. 23). 

1. In a letter dated 1 March 1847, the committee had conveyed the resolutions 
to JBF. In addition to authorizing a sword, the citizens of Charleston had ex- 
pressed appreciation to JCF for his explorations, and applauded his conduct in 

2. The committee was composed of John E. Carew, Henry Gourdin, W. C. 
Gatewood, E. H. Trescott, G. H. Bryan, S. Y. Tupper, and the chairman, 
Henry W. Conner. 


23. Fremont to a Committee 
of the Citizens of Charleston 

Washington, August 18, 1848, 

I have had the pleasure to receive the sword and belt, with which 
you have conveyed to me, on the part of my fellow-citizens of Charles- 
ton, the expression of their approbation of my conduct during some 
recent years of my life, and the further gratification to receive them 
from the hands of a Representative, the Hon. Mr. Rhett. 

I cannot imagine any honor which I would consider greater than 
that you have conferred upon me, or any circumstances in which that 
honor would have been more valuable. Arriving on our frontier after 
a long absence, and in circumstances most humiliating and mortify- 
ing, I first learned that you had honored, with a public expression of 
your approval, my geographical labours in our remote Western Ter- 
ritories, and my subsequent conduct in aid of American citizens dur- 
ing the revolutionary movements in California. From the country 
which had been the scene of the one, and across the region which had 
been the subject of the other, I had been brought a degraded prisoner. 
My situation had been studiously aggravated by every humiliation to 
which I could be exposed, and my whole journey homeward was one 
continued indignity. 

In these circumstances, and at the first frontier village, I received 
your letter accompanying the resolutions of the meeting in Charleston. 
In the sudden revulsion of feeling, I felt indebted to you for the mo- 
ment of highest gratification I have ever experienced, in which the 
distress and pain of unmerited disgrace were entirely forgotton in the 
awakened feelings of gratitude and devotion to my country. 

With all the strength of feeling so created, I offer to you my thanks, 
and through you to the citizens of Charleston whom you represent. I 
have been educated among them, and grown up together with many 
of them. Some were the associates and friends of my early youth. It 
will probably be long before I can have the pleasure to take them by 
the hand, and personally make them my acknowledgments. I beg, 
therefore, through you to express to them my grateful sense of their 
kind remembrance, and my great pleasure in having been able to do 
any thing which has given them gratification, and which they can 
think worthy a public expression of their approbation. 


To my friends, the ladies of Charleston, I beg you to make accept- 
able my warmest and most respectful thanks; to assure them that I 
feel highly honored by their gift, and deeply grateful to them for the 
sympathy which prompted them to make it. With great pleasure I 
found exercised in my behalf the generous spirit which has so often 
distinguished them, and which has given them a place so honorable 
in the history of the State. The consciousness of having once been dis- 
tinguished by their notice will always be an incentive to honorable 

Having now offered to my fellow-citizens the earnest expression of 
my gratitude for the honor with which they have distinguished me, 
and of which I am as deeply sensible as if that honor had been really 
earned by myself, I could not remain satisfied were I to pass over in 
silence those to whom the distinction properly belong, and so appro- 
priate to myself the fruits of their good conduct. 

The exploring parties under my command, and the volunteer force 
of California, were composed of men whose courage and energy had 
made them pioneers in the wilderness country beyond our western 
frontier, or whose spirit of enterprise had carried them to find new 
homes on the shore of the Pacific. They were tried men, experienced 
in difficulty and danger, accustomed to self-reliance, and full of re- 
sources. What their matured experience aided me to plan, their cour- 
age always enabled me to accomplish. With inferior men, the services 
which had received your approbation would never have been per- 
formed; and to them, therefore, the praise you have awarded justly 
belongs. They have certainly deserved well of their country, and 
earned for themselves an honorable mention. I trust that you will al- 
low me to make it here, and respectfully ask that you will further 
permit me to receive, in their name, and as their representative, the 
public testimonial with which you have honored me. 

In taking leave of you, on the eve of a long absence from the coun- 
try, I beg you to receive the assurance of my warm regard and most 
earnest wishes for your continued happiness. 

With much respect, gendemen, your friend and fellow-citizen. 

J. C. Fremont 
To Messrs. Conner, Bryan, Gourdin, Carew, Trescott, Gatewood, 
and Tupper, a committee, &c. 

Printed in Washington Daily Union, 25 Aug. 1848. 


24. Fremont to George Engelmann 

Washington City, August 19th. 1848 
My dear Sir, 

Major [Thomas Beasley] Linnard has been ordered to St. Louis to 
pay the accounts of my party out of the appropriations just made.' I 
therefore return you Schriebers [Schreiber s] receipt, and will imme- 
diately forward you another, which with my certificate subscribed, 
will be presented to Major Linnard. Yours truly, 

J. C. Fremont 

P.S. Enclosed I send the bills. Major Linnard will retain out of the 
whole amount the sum advanced by me to Schreiber, and place it to 
my credit at the Bank of Missouri. 

Dr. Engelmann 
St. Louis, Mri. 


1. Benton had tried to procure the appointment of his and JCF's good friend, 
Robert Campbell, to adjust the claims, but Col. Abert refused on the grounds 
that Campbell was "the principal creditor in the case" and, furthermore, not a 
public officer (Abert to Benton, 18 Aug. 1848, Lbk [DNA-77, LS, 10:458-59]). 

25. Fremont to Walter R. Johnson 

Washington City, August 19th. 1848 

I have had the honor to receive your letter informing me that I had 
been elected a correspondent of the Academy of Natural Sciences in 
Philadelphia. I beg you to accept my apologies already offered through 
Mr. Kern for my unintentional delay in replying to your letter. With 
assurances of respect & regard I am Sir Your obedient Servant, 

J. C. Fremont 
Dr. Walter R. Johnson 
Corresponding Secty. 
Academy of Nad. Sciences, Philadelphia 



26. James Buchanan to Fremont 

Washington, 29 August 1848 
My dear Sir: 

I regret to inform you that the President does not think that any 
sufficient reason exists for the removal of Mr. Larkin as Navy Agent 
at Monterey. The allegations against him have not yet assumed any 
authentic form. I am very sorry that I have been innocently instru- 
mental in delaying you until this day, & I hope that my motive will be 
my apology. 

Wishing you success & prosperity, I remain Sincerely & respectfully 

Your friend, 

James Buchanan 
Colonel John C. Fremont 

ALS, SC (PHi — Buchanan Papers). Buchanan made heavy corrections that 
are difficult to decipher. His original version read approximately: "I regret to 
inform you that whilst the President is anxious {well disposed) to confer upon 
you the appointment and would be pleased to appoint you the Navy Agent at 
Monterey, yet he is unwilling to remove Mr. Larkin without more (accurate) 
authentic information than he possesses respecting that officers conduct." The 
allegations against Larkin were not found. 

27. Fremont to Richard Burgess 

Washington, 31 Aug. 1848 

[Richard Burgess of the City of Washington is given the power to 
settle and prosecute whatever claims JCF may have against any of the 
departments of government. He may receive and receipt for all 
monies due JCF. The original power of attorney was placed on file in 
the Third Auditors Office, but a copy may be found in DNA-217, 
Roll 10, Manning File: Receipts.] 


28. Fremont to John Torrey 

Washington, Sepr. 3. 1848 
My dear Sir, 

The settlement of my aflfairs in order to [provide for] my long ab- 
sence has so totally engrossed me that I have been forced to neglect 
my friends, and with them, other more agreeable business. Nothing 
which had in it the name of California could pass the House this ses- 
sion, and with other things, our appropriation for the survey was lost 
there. I set out from this place on Wednesday or Thursday morning, 
remain one day in N.Y. and go on to Missouri from which I shall set 
out for California about the end of this month. Being in the Winter 
our journey will be a severe one, but I hope to reach California early 
in December. I shall send you plants such as the season may afford by 
the first or second steamer (February or March) and you may rely on 
my exploring the country about Mt Shaste (Shastl) early in the next 
spring. All our plans will be carried out. Col. Benton desires me to 
say to you that at the next session (this winter) he will procure the 
means sufficient to cover all the expense attendant upon the examina- 
tion of the plants, and upon the Engraving and publishing our work 
in the style you suggest. He will want a letter from you upon the 
value of the plants and the value of the work, and will communicate 
with you for that purpose. So that you may be confident of our ulti- 
mate success, and in the mean time I will make a good harvest in 
California. Prof. Henry told me some weeks since that he would pub- 
lish any thing you could furnish him with from the plants.' In all this 
please act as you judge best. I would be glad to have a line from you, 
and letters sent to Col. Benton here will be forwarded to me. Mrs. Fre- 
mont will send you (from my journal) the localities &c. of the plants of 
California. Some brief memoranda of plants gathered between Bent's 
fort and the Salt Lake are sent by this mail. They refer to such plants 
only as I had not had time to label when they were gathered on the 
march or in my absence. I will afterwards send you the list of the 
plants gathered between the Missouri frontier and California. 

I do not think that I have told you that I have a son' about five 
weeks old — Mrs. Fremont is doing well. I will write again and I am 
my dear Sir most truly yours, 

J. C. Fremont 


Prof. John Torrey, 

ALS (NNNBG — Torrey Correspondence). 

1. Joseph Henry (1797-1878), secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, had 
been a professor of natural philosophy at Princeton from 1832 to 1846. Torrey s 
description of the plants collected by JCF in California, known as Plantae Fre- 
moTJtianae, was published in the Smithsonian Contributions to Knowledge (April 


2. Benton Fremont, born 24 July 1848, died on 6 Oct. in the Missouri River 
steamer that was carrying his parents to Kansas landing, whence JCF would 
leave on his fourth expedition (phillips, 353, and Doc. No. 30). 

29. Fremont's Notice to California Claimants 

[Washington, 7 Sept. 1848] 

The undersigned gives this notice to persons holding claims against 
the United States, for military or civil operations under his authority, 
and which claims were ascertained and authenticated while he was in 
the country in 1846-'47, that, on receiving an abstract of such claim, 
in duplicate, he will make the remarks upon it which justice and 
truth require to be made, and return one copy to the claimant, and 
retain the other for the benefit of the United States. No person need 
be at the trouble to come personally to see the undersigned on this 
business; his remarks will be made upon his own knowledge, and 
that of ex-officers of the California battalion. The undersigned gives 
this notice for three reasons: 

1. For the benefit of the honest claimant, that he may eventually 
get what is due. 

2. For the benefit of the United States, that it may have a check 
upon false claims. 

3. For the protection of his own reputation that unjust claims shall 
not be presented under his name. 

A compliance with the request will cost no expense, and but little 
trouble; non-compliance will be a serious detriment to any claimant, 
as I shall advise the proper authorities that all such non-presented 
claims must be held, prima facie, to be fraudulent. I shall be in dif- 
ferent parts of California during the spring and summer of 1849, so 
that a compliance with this notice will be easy to every claimant. 


I send this notice to California by Mr. [Frank] Ward to be pub- 
lished in the newspapers. I will publish a similar notice upon arrival. 

J, C. Fremont 
Washington City, Sept. 7, 1848. 

Printed in Aha California, 15 March 1849. 

30. Fremont's Notes on the 1848-49 


A winter expedition — about snow obstacles & home for family. 
Preparations at St. Louis — Campbell and Filley. Journey up the 
river — death of the child. Mrs. Fremont at Maj. Cummins Camp on 
the frontier — Mrs. Fremont's visits to the camp. Scott & the quails. 
Capt. Cathcart. Personnel (33 men) of the party. Godey — the Kerns 
— King — Breckenridge. Creutzfeldt (when was he with me?). The 
two Indian boys — Gregorio & Proue. The 3 Canadians.' 

Route up the Southern Kansas — the Arkansas bare of timber fuel 
and exposed to snow storms. For 400 miles abundant timber, game 
and excellent grass. Valley of the Kansas best approach to the Moun- 
tains. The valley soil of superior quality, well timbered, abundant 
grasses, the route direct. Would afford good settlements for 400 miles. 
The Big Timber, 30 m below Bents Fort. Fitzpatrick & the Indians. 
600 lodges. Talks and feasts. Indians report snow deeper than for 
many years." 

Nov. 17. Mountains show themselves for the first time, covered 
with snow, the country around also. Not discouraged. Plan of the for- 
ward journey — Extract from letter of 17th Nov. Journey continued. 
Halt at Pueblo (San Carlos?) on the Fontaine qui Bouit.^ Purchase 
here mules and provisions — load animals with corn.^ Leave Pueblo, 
party & animals all in fine order. The Sierra Mojada (plate here) The 
Robidoux Pass (plate here) — The San Louis Valley — the Del Norte 
(Plate). The San Juan Mtns. The disaster — wreck of party (Xmas 
Camp)^ — the look over the fields of snow in the west. The relief 
party under King — the long waiting for news tidings that did not 
come.'^ Give them up for lost and go for relief Down to the Del 
Norte — travelling easy on the frozen river — strike lodge trail. Godey 
and the bit of bacon. Kill a hawk. Surprise a Utah Indian. Go with 


him to Utah lodges — feast on venison and barley pot-au-feu. Hire 
horses and Indians to go to Red River Setdement with us. Start again 
next day. Indians tell us of a starving [party] in the snov^. Guided to 
them by the smoke of their camp fire. Prove to be King's party. Find 
King dead and the others starving. Put these on the Indian horses and 
continue journey. Snow disappears fast as we go down the valley — 
sheep ranchos — reach Taos — after nightfall — go into Beaubien's 
shop — find Owens, Maxwell, and Carson. Owens fails to recognize 
me. Maxwell does instantly — Why don't you know the Captain? Hos- 
pitable reception. Carson takes me to his house. Send back Godey to 
meet the party with horses & supplies. Horses furnished by Maj. Beale 
[Beall]. How Godey met the men. Re-organize the party. Capt. Cath- 
cart goes back — health not warranting further venture, with him re- 
turn \blant{ line].' 

With 25 men all told " and outfit renewed I resume journey, follow- 
ing down the Del Norte and intending to reach the Rio Grande 
[Colorado] by a route south of Gila river. The snows this season too 
heavy to insist on a direct route through the mountains. Engage a 
New Mexican for guide. Spring weather in the valley — fruit trees in 
bloom — hospitality. Leave the river." Open country — snowed on 
again. No wood and weather cold. Retreat into the Mimbres Moun- 
tains. Pleasant country, well wooded, resembling the oak region of the 
Sierra Nevada — color of soil — grass and water abundant. Travel 
along foot of mountains. Apaches around the camp — watch and 
watch. McGee [McGehee] fired on. Halt and have parley with chief 
— make friends. The Indians go to Mimbres River with us. Breakfast 
and presents. Indians direct us to watering place in the open coun- 
try — appoint to meet us there — their war parties out in Sonora and 
Chihuahua. I push forward and avoid them. The Apache visitor — 
Santa Cruz. The Mexican and the bundle of grass. Follow down the 
Santa Cruz river — Tucson.'" Spring on the Santa Cruz — peach or- 
chards — the ruined missions. Reach the Gila river. The Pimah Vil- 
lage. {See Johnson's report) Indian faces painted with black lead. Follow 
the river around the Bend. Meet large party of Sonorians going to 
California for gold." Their pleasure in meeting us. Their fear of In- 
dians. They urge me to travel with them. I consent. Many presents of 
fruits and provisions in various forms. Reach the Gila river. Deter- 
mine position of the Junction with the Rio Grande. Make Bull- 
boat'" — ferry women & children of the Sonorians across, with my 
party, and leave the BuUboat for men to complete their crossing. Some 


of the Sonorians decide to go to the Mariposa with me to look for 
gold which I told them would be found there. 

Names of the party of 1848 '^ 

Cathcart Taplin 

Godey + Sorel 

Vincent Haler + Morel 

The Three Kerns Godey s nephew 

Preuss + Carver 

+ Proue Saunders 

Creutzfeldt + Manuel (Cosumne Indian) 

+ Wise + Andrews 

Ferguson McKie 

+ Rohrer Stepperfeldt 

Martin Bacon 

Scott + King 

+ Beadle Gregorio ^ , , ^ ,. 

I TT LL J T ri 1 lulare Indians 

+ Hubbard Juan [JoaquinJ 

AD (CUB). 

1. For more details on preparations for the expedition, see the Introduction, 
pp. xxii-iv. Short biographical sketches of the personnel of the party are given 
in n. 13 below. Thirty-five men left Westport with JCF; three dropped out along 
the way. At the Pueblo de San Carlos on the Fontaine qui Bouit (present Pueblo, 
Colo.), ICF recruited William S. Williams as guide, and thus entered the rug- 
ged San Juans with thirty-three men. 

2. For details of the journey to Bent's Fort, see Andrew Cathcart s letters to 
C. J. Colville (Doc. Nos. 31 and 32) and JCF to Benton, 17 Nov. 1848 (Doc. 
No. 34). 

3. The halt was made at Mormontown at the mouth of the Fountain River. 
Located across the river was El Pueblo de San Carlos, whence came Bill Wil- 
liams to offer his services as guide. 

4. It was at a little settlement on the Hardscrabble affluent of the Arkansas, 
twenty-five miles distant, that sacks of shelled corn were loaded on the backs of 
mules. The party left Hardscrabble on 25 Nov. and went up the north branch of 
Hardscrabble Creek. After passing parallel walls of red rock, located just west 
of Wetmore, the men entered the canyon of North Hardscrabble Creek with its 
huge outcroppings of red and green rocks. Water was made from snow. Rich- 
mond notes when they crossed from the drainage of North Hardscrabble Creek 
onto the Williams Fork of the Huerfano River they found themselves near the 
Gardner Butte, "standing like a 'bastion' at the gap of the Huerfano. Across the 
river were the 'little Spanish Peaks,' Sheep and Little Sheep Mountains, resem- 
bling their better known neighbors to the south." They moved along the Huer- 
fano. Battling wind and deep snow, they crossed the Sangre de Cristos by way of 
Robidoux (Mosca Pass) on 3 Dec, and using the narrow, rocky, timber-choked 
canyon of Mosca Creek, descended into the San Luis Valley, "the valley of the 


Rio del Nortc." Camp was made in a grove of trees by a small stream, probably 
Medano Creek. On 6 Dec. King, Preuss, and Creutzfeldt went with JCF to ex- 
amine Medano or Sand Hills Pass. The next day, the entire party rounded the 
giant sand dunes and in killing temperatures struggled westward across the 
level, treeless valley floor. The exhausted men and mules rested in the cotton- 
woods on the Rio de Tres Tetones, presently named Crestone Creek, before 
moving west to the Saguache, which Richard Kern in his manuscript diary 
(CSmH) mistakenly called the Rio Grande. His 1849 published diary (Doc. No. 
39) and JCF's 27 Jan. 1849 letter to JBF (Doc. No. 36) recount their subsequent 
trials; the tall hacked-off stumps, bones, and other artifacts showed later hunters 
and foresters the charred sites of their camps on Wannamaker, Rincones, and 
Groundhog creeks, and the maps here (pp. 106-8) indicate their wanderings. 
No railroad has ever gone through the San Juans where JCF attempted to lead 
his men. 

5. Of all the plates mentioned here, the Sierra Mojada illustration is the only 
one that appears in the Memoirs. In fact, two views of it are included in that 
volume. Two other plates relating to the Sierra Mojada are also in the prospectus 
for the Memoirs (CSmH), as well as engravings entitled "San Luis Valley, near 
Sand Hill Pass" and "Christmas Camp." bigelow published a different view of 
the Christmas Camp, one painted by Jacob A. Dallas and engraved by Nathaniel 
Orr's company. The prospectus has no plate for Robidoux Pass (presumably 
Mosca Pass across the Sangre de Cristo Mountains), but does contain an engrav- 
ing for Cochetopa Pass and one for the San Juans. Virtually all of the expensive 
artwork for the Memoirs was done in the 1850s, with the daguerreotypes of Sol- 
omon Nunes Carvalho forming the basis for much of it. 

6. For details of JCF's story, see his long letter beginning on 27 Jan. 1849 
(Doc. No. 36). 

7. Those remaining behind, besides Cathcart, were the three Kern brothers, 
Old Bill Williams, Taplin, and Stepperfeldt. 

8. Pencilled between the lines of McGehee s manuscript chronicle, as though 
an afterthought of his — or perhaps added by a reader of his diary — are the 
names of Lindsay Carson and "Thos. Boggs, son of Ex-Gov. of Mexico." The 
men were additions to the old party of seventeen, including JCF. After the party 
reached Santa Fe, the names of Carson and Boggs are again interlined in the 
McGehee chronicle, except Boggs is now correctly identified as the son of the 
"Ex.-Gov. of Mo., now of Cal." The names of Edward Perry, a relative of 
Godey's, and "Joaquin LeRue, guide" are also added (mc gehee [1], 150, 167). 

"Joaquin LeRue" is undoubtedly Antoine Leroux (1801-61), as Joaquin, 
sometimes spelled Joachin, was one of his given names. He may have guided the 
JCF party as far as Albuquerque, but he certainly did not go on to California. 
PARKHiLL, 116-20, notes that Leroux was the guide for J. H. Whittlesey's ex- 
pedition against the Utes, which left Taos on 11 March and returned on 14 
March 1849. 

Omitting Leroux and including JCF, we know the names of twenty mem- 
bers. The other five were probably Mexican muleteers. 

9. Four days' travel below San Antonio, they left the Rio Grande and used 
Leroux's trail, "which cuts off more than 100 miles from the route taken by 
Colonel Cook in 1846" (mc gehee [1], 185). 

10. They entered Tucson on 23 March and four days later were at the Pimah 
Indian village on the Gila (mc gehee [1], 208, 214). 

IL MC GEHEE [1], 203, writes that it was after they left the Spanish town of 
Santa Cruz that they "fell in" with the Sonorians. 


12. It was about 8 April that the mules were driven across. The men con- 
structed the bullboat of six oxhides, which they had packed along for that pur- 
pose, and attached five oars. Two trips were sufficient to carry their possessions 
across (mc gehee [2], 151). 

13. JCF's roster of the fourth expedition is incomplete, but of the thirty men 
he lists, fourteen had been associated with him in one way or another on previ- 
ous expeditions, and only passing notice need now be taken of those who have 
been identified in Vols. I and 2. Such a one is Alexander Godey, the gay and 
practical French Canadian from St. Louis who had been on two previous expedi- 
tions. JCF wrote that under Napoleon, Godey, Kit Carson, and Richard Owens 
might have become marshals (memoirs, 427), and indeed, Godey seems to have 
been genuinely admired and respected by all the men even in their severest days 
of trial. He did not replace Bill Williams as a guide as some writers have 

The forty-one-year-old Vincent Haler s real name was Lorenzo D. Vin- 
sonhaler, although it was often written as Vincenthaler. A native of Ohio, he had 
emigrated to California in 1846, served as sergeant in Company C of the bat- 
talion, and joined JCF's homeward-bound expedition late in the spring of 1847 
{National Intelligencer, 3 Nov. 1847; DNA-92, microfilm roll 7). The Kerns did 
not like him and events of the expedition convinced them that he was a coward 
and an unscrupulous opportunist. When the party broke up in Taos, Vin- 
sonhaler continued on to California, working for a time for JCF, who thought 
him a "sterling man" and went his surety on a bond when he applied, along 
with James D. Savage, for a license to trade with the Indians ("Correspondence 
between the Department of Interior and the Indian Agents and Commissioners 
in California," Senate Ex. Doc. 4, 33rd Cong., 1st sess., p. 106, Serial 688). In 
1851 Vinsonhaler served as a guide to the Mariposa Battalion (eccleston). 

Of the three Kerns of Philadelphia, Edward M. was the veteran explorer. He 
had been the artist-topographer for the third expedition and had commanded 
Sutter's Fort after the American flag was raised there. He was instrumental in 
signing up his two brothers: Richard H., also an artist, and Benjamin, a physi- 
cian, who was to act as surgeon and assistant naturalist to the expedition. All 
three had hoped the expedition would improve their professional opportunities. 
While nursing his body back to health in Taos, Edward wrote bitterly about JCF 
and their disappointments: "He has left us without even his good wishes or a 
thought of our future and owing me money. ... I have lost a start that I never 
expect to recover again" (E. M. Kern to Mary, Feb. 1849, CSmH). Worse was yet 
to come. Within a few days Benjamin, and Bill Williams also, were murdered by 
the Utes when the two returned to the mountains with a few Mexican helpers to 
try to recover the abandoned property. Four years later Richard met a similar 
fate when, as a member of Captain John W Gunnison's topographical party, he 
was massacred by Utes in Sevier Valley. The hike |2] and heffernan biogra- 
phies of Edward give many details on the lives of Richard and Benjamin. 

When the Utes attacked Gunnison, they also killed the botanist Frederick 
Creutzfeldt, who had served JCF in a similar capacity on the fourth expedition. 
Being a tall, strong, active man, weighing 180 or 190 pounds, he had broken a lot 
of trail in the deep snow of the mountains (breckenridge [1]) 

Yet a third member of JCF's Fourth joined up with Gunnison — Charles Van 
Linneus Taplin — and served as a wagonmaster until, fortunately for him, poor 
health forced him to drop out when the expedition was still in San Luis Valley. 
Thus he was not present at the Ute attack and managed to live another two 
years. Taplin's ties to JCF went back a long time, as he had served in both the 


second and third expeditions but not the war in CaHfornia. Leaving JCF on the 
Sacramento River on 3 April 1846, he had gone east to seek JBF s aid in securing 
a second lieutenancy in the regular army (J. B. Fremont to the President, 16 Feb. 
1847, Copley Collection). He resigned this commission just a week after JCF 
submitted his own resignation following the court-martial verdict (heitman). 

The German cartographer Charles Preuss endured the perils of this expedi- 
tion as stoically as he had those of the first and second, and yet there was a differ- 
ence. He neglected to comment in his journal on the blunders of Americans in 
general and the stupidity of JCF in particular. 

An old man and a native of France, Raphael Proue was making his fourth 
expedition with JCF (Charles Taplin's report, St. Louis Weel^ly Reveille, 30 April 
1849, reprinted in hafen & hafen, 195). Sorrel, whose proper name seems to 
have been Vincent Tabeau, may have been a kinsman of Jean Baptiste Tabeau, 
who had been killed by the Indians near Littlefield, Ariz., while serving on 
JCF's second expedition. The man whose name JCF gives as Morel was Antoine 
Morin from Illinois and a veteran of the third expedition. Another old moun- 
taineer, Longe, not listed by name by JCF but registered by Micajah McGehee, 
went along as far as Hardscrabble when the "prospect of deep snow upon the 
mountains replenished by continual storms" caused him to break off from the 
party and to predict "evil to those who continued" (mc gehee [IJ, 11, 92-93). 
Longe, Tabeau, and Morin were undoubtedly JCF's "3 Canadians." 

Godey's nephew was fourteen-year-old Theodore McNabb, and Jackson 
Saunders was a free Negro servant in the Benton household who went as JCF's 
personal chef and orderly. 

Henry J. Wise, Henry Rohrer, Benjamin Beadle (sometimes the newspapers 
have it "Beddell"), George Hubbard (McGehee writes "Hibbard"), Elijah T. 
Andrews, and Carver were all new recruits, and they all died on the expedition. 
Formerly a tax collector for St. Louis County, Henry J. Wise has often been 
confused with the Marion Wise of the third expedition (Saint Louis Daily Re- 
veille, 30 March 1849). Marion was from St. Louis and was still living there in 
1888 when he signed an affidavit before the clerk of the circuit court stating that 
he had known Thomas E. Breckenridge for over fifty years, having been "raised 
with him from childhood" (DNA-15, Mexican War Pension Files, Margaret E. 
Breckenridge, 10901). 

Rohrer was a family man and a millwright who had suffered pecuniary losses 
on a contract in Georgetown and hoped to repair his fortunes in California 
where skilled mechanics were in great demand (Baltimore Sun, 16 April 1849). 
Beadle was from St. Louis County, Hubbard from Milwaukee, and Carver from 
Chicago (Charles Taplin's report, St. Louis Weekly Reveille, 30 April 1849, 
printed in hafen & hafen, 195-96). Tuburcular midshipman Elijah T. An- 
drews was from the city of St. Louis; so was William Bacon, a new recruit but 
one who survived to mine gold with Breckenridge {ibid.; breckenridge [1]). 

Missourian Josiah Ferguson and Thomas Salathiel Martin, a Tennessean who 
had lived in St. Louis since 1840, were veterans of both the third expedition and 
the California Battalion. After his travels with JCF were over, Martin setded 
near Santa Barbara, Calif., and married a Mexican woman who bore him chil- 
dren. For a time he worked as a city marshal and a deputy sheriff and later 
became a rancher and a breeder of fine horses (martin, iii). John Scott had 
joined the Third at Bent's Fort in 1845 as a voyageur and two years later returned 
with JCF to St. Louis as a hunter. That city's Missouri Hotel listed him as being 
from Elk Mills, Mo. {Daily Missouri Republican, 28 Sept. 1848). 

Henry King of the Georgetown district of Washington had also been a faith- 


ful and responsible member of the third expedition and had served the Cahfor- 
nia Battahon as commissary officer with the rank of captain. When going be- 
came rough for the Fourth, it was King whom JCF selected to lead a small party 
in search of assistance. After the interview with Taplin, the reporter for the St. 
Louis Weef{ly Reveille wrote: "The fate of Mr. King was most heart-rendering. 
He was, says Mr. Taplin, a man in the spring time of life, of cultivated mind, 
and of the most engaging manners. He had been married but two weeks 
previous to his departure on the expedition, and was only a short time with the 
company where he had gained the friendship and esteem of every member" 
(30 April 1849, reprinted in hafen & hafen, 195-96). 

"McKie" was Micajah McGehee (1824-80), a twenty-two-year-old graduate 
of Transylvania University and the son of Judge Edward McGehee, the owner of 
Bowling Green Plantation near Woodville, Miss. His brother Charles was with 
him in St. Louis when he joined JCF, and family tradition has it that it was his 
girl's love for the brother that sent Micajah in search of western adventure. After 
the disaster in the mountains, Micajah went on to Las Mariposas with JCF to 
wash gold and had his first nugget made into a pin for the girl back home 
(Lieut. Col. John H. Napier III to Mary Lee Spence, 20 Aug. 1975). He soon 
settled at Big Oak Flat in Tuolumne County, where he continued to mine and 
also began a merchandise business. When he was not immediately moved by 
family pleas to come home, an older brother wrote, "Some said you did not 
come home because you were making money so fast you disliked to leave and 
others equally stoutly avered that it was because you had had reverses and were 
too proud to come home under their pressure." But he thought Micajah oc- 
cupied the middle ground. "You had not got so high as some said not so low 
(in finance) as others feared but that you were pleased with the fresh life that 
California offered you and meant to stay and enjoy it" (Edward McGehee to 
Micajah McGehee, Cold Spring, 14 June 1854, copy courtesy of Mrs. H. B. 
McGehee). In time, Micajah became a justice of the peace, a circuit judge, and in 
1856 a member of the California legislature. He finally returned permanently to 
Woodville in 1872. Copies of some of the family correspondence may be found in 
the James Stewart McGehee Papers (LU). 

One of the new recruits was thirty-six-year-old John S. Stepperfeldt, a black- 
smith from Quincy, 111. He, his wife, and two children had migrated there from 
New York sometime after 1839 (U.S. Census, 1850, for Adams County, North 
Ward of Quincy, 111., pp. 214 A & B give the name as Stepperfield). 

The three California Indian boys, Manuel, Gregorio, and Juan (Joaquin), 
seem to have had previous service with JCF. Identified by JCF as being "a Chris- 
tian Indian of the Cosumne tribe in the valley of the San Joaquin" (Doc. No. 36), 
Manuel had been connected with the third expedition and was known to JBF 
Gregorio was probably the young Indian whom JCF had brought home in 1844 
and who subsequently, as a member of the 1845-47 expedition, endured all the 
hardships and glory of the marching and fighting in California. The identity of 
the third boy is a problem. Two of the 1848-49 Kern diaries repeatedly indicate 
that his name was Joaquin and not Juan as JCF much later lists here. But "Juan" 
is the name given in the memoirs, 411, to the second Indian boy brought home 
by JCF in 1844, and Jessie implies that Juan was on the Fourth (j. b. fremont [3], 
56:95). Breckenridge does claim to have brought home in 1847 a fourteen-year- 
old Indian boy who had been given to him by his mother (breckenridge [1]). 

Capt. Andrew Cathcart (1817-82), who heads JCF's list, was an Ayrshire 
Scot who had served in the 10th and 11th Hussars before leaving the army in 
1846. He had come to St. Louis in Aug. 1848 with a fellow Britisher, George 


Frederick. Ruxton, the author of Adventures in Mexico and the Rocl^ Mountains 
(London, 1847) and Life in the Far West (London, 1849). While Ruxton waited in 
St. Louis for an opportunity to travel to Santa Fe, Cathcart joined Gen. George 
Brooke, who had been ordered from his command in New Orleans to Minne- 
sota to establish two new military posts in the heart of Sioux country. Brooke 
had been president of the board for the court-martial of JCF and it is entirely 
possible that he made a few comments about him to the British officer. While he 
was at Fort Snelling preparing for a buffalo hunt, Cathcart received news that 
Ruxton had died of dysentery. He hastened back to St. Louis to arrange his poor 
friend's affairs, and then, hearing of JCF's plans for expedition, asked to go 
along and was accepted into the party (Cathcart to C. J. Colville, 20 Aug., 20 
and 29 Sept. 1848, National Register of Archives, Scotland). 

After the San Juan fiasco, Cathcart seems not to have been as bitter as the 
Kerns. According to JBF, he had sent some letters and a Damascus sword, and 
there had been a meeting with the Fremonts in France in 1852 (Jessie Benton 
Fremont's draft manuscripts of her "Memoirs," p. 96, and of "Great Events dur- 
ing the life of Major General John C. Fremont," p. 178, both at CU-B). 

In 1967 Charles Hill of Hermosa Beach, Calif., located the sword in a restau- 
rant in Chula Vista, Calif. It had been made by the Wilkinson Company in 
London and etched on the blade, along with an eagle, stars, and "E. Pluribus 
Unum," is the presentation inscription: "The Honorable Col. Fremont from 
A. Cathcart 1850" (Charles Hill to Donald Jackson, 12 Oct. 1967, personal files). 

After meeting the Fremonts in Paris, Cathcart went off to Australia, where 
he spent some time in the "gold diggings" and cruised about the South Seas in 
Turkey; in 1858 he was chief of police at Mauritius and in 1859 consul in Al- 
bania. Cathcart died of cancer. For some of the details of his life, see the obituary 
notice clipped from a newspaper in the Cathcart Papers, National Register of 
Archives, Scotland. 

Omitted from the roster of the men who actually entered the San Juans with 
JCF are Julius E. Ducatel, Thomas E. Breckenridge, and his guide, William 
Sherley Williams. Ducatel was the son of Baltimorean Julius T. Ducatel, who 
had been state geologist of Maryland and a friend of JCF's mentor, Joseph N. 
Nicollet. The young man must have heard of his father's death soon after his 
arrival in California. He returned to the Atlantic states in 1852, but in 1854 
Micajah McGehee reported Ducatel's death at the California rancho of Vin- 
sonhaler (W. C. Jones's testimony before the California Land Commission, 
DNA-49, Docket 1, p. 101; Micajah McGehee to Charles G. McGehee, Big Oak 
Flat, 7 April 1854, copy, LU — James Stewart McGehee Papers). 

Breckenridge (1825-97) was young too, but, like his comrades Ferguson and 
Martin, a veteran of the third expedition and of the war in California. He had 
not returned with JCF in 1847, but had come east earlier in the year with Carson 
and Beale. When the fourth expedition broke up in Taos, Breckenridge went on 
to California and with Billy Bacon mined gold somewhat successfully for a time. 
By 1851 he was back in St. Louis, married to Margaret E. Ritner, and making 
claims for bounty land (breckenridge [1]). When Cosmopolitan obtained his 
story, he was living in the mining town of Telluride, Colo, (breckenridge [2]). 

^Vith Williams (1787-1849), JCF acquired a guide who had spent his entire 
life on the cutting edge of the frontier or in the mountains and who had close 
associations with the Indians, particularly the Osage and Utes. Popularly known 
as "Old Bill Williams," sometimes as "Parson Bill," or even as "Lone Elk" in 
later life, he had been born in a cabin on Horse Creek, old Rutherford County, 
N.C., and had been brought to a farm near St. Louis when he was about eight 


and when Louisiana still belonged to Spain. At sixteen he began living with the 
Big Hill band of the Great Osages and in time married one of their girls and 
acted as interpreter and translator for various U.S. Indian agents, generals, and 
missionaries, and even produced an Osage-English dictionary. In 1825 he be- 
came a member of the government expedition which had the responsibility for 
marking the road from Fort Osage to Santa Fe. At Taos he left the expedition 
and for the next twenty years ranged far and wide over the West, trapping 
beaver, hunting buffalo, "collecting" horses, and trading. His activities took, him 
over the Southwest into California, up to the Columbia River, into the Wind 
River Mountains, and to Salt Lake, but he was seen most often in the southern 
Rockies of Colorado. 

As we have noted in Vol. 2, he was no stranger to JCF, having accompanied 
his 1845 expedition from the Pueblo to Great Salt Lake. When JCF came again 
to the Pueblo in 1848, Bill Williams was recuperating from a wound the Apaches 
had given him when they encountered Major W W Reynold's forces, for which 
he was acting as scout and guide. See voelker and favour for biographical treat- 
ments of this eccentric and complex mountain man who, McGehee wrote, "was 
a dead shot with a rifle, though he always shot with a 'double wabble" (mc 

GEHEE [1], 87). 

In addition to Longe, two other men quit the expedition before it entered the 
mountains. One was James McDowell, a St. Louis physician and nephew of 
Mrs. Thomas Hart Benton. He sold his mule to McGehee and left the party on 
27 Oct. when it was three days beyond the Kansas Methodist Mission near 
Union Town and two days away from crossing the Smoky Hill near present Sa- 
line. The second was Amos Andrews, father of Elijah, who withdrew at Bent's 
Fort (mc GEHEE [1], 12, 20, 73). According to Thomas Fitzpatrick, two men, 
whom he does not identify, tried to join JCF after he left the Pueblo, but the 
explorer had no need of their services and they returned. Contrary to Brecken- 
ridge, who had a faulty memory, "Dick" Wootton was never a part of the 

31. Andrew Cathcart to C. J. Colville 

Fremont's Camp. 
Oct. 16th, 1848 
Dear Colville. 

We had a very good voyage up the Missouri, very slow though in 
consequence of the hundreds of snags (which we were lucky enough 
to escape). The whole party came up in the same boat, an advantage 
to me as I made their acquaintance all in a bunch. They really are 
very good fellows and very well disposed, some are superior in educa- 
tion; one, a German, acts as topographer, a little, squat man with an 
xfternal pipe and three heathen Americans who act respectively as 
Doctor, artist and one as Head man ' of the party under Fremont. 


Richard Hovendon Kern. From a daguerreotype. 
Courtesy of the Henry E. Huntington Library. 


Edward Meyer Kern. From a daguerreotype. 
Courtesy of the Henry E. Huntington Library. 


Benjamin Jordan Kern. From a daguerreotype. 
Courtesy of the Henry E. Huntington Library. 


Alexander Godey. From a print in Century Magazine, 

March 1891. 


Charles Preuss. From a print in Century Magazine^ 

March 1891. 


We have been out here camped for a week on the Prairie, prepar- 
ing to start. I Hke the life very much and it agrees with me; the rough- 
ing it would astonish you, I assure you. I have abandoned all vestige of 
polished life now. You would laugh to see me roasting meat on a 
pointed stick draped in a leather hunting shirt, or as I had to do the 
other day leading a d — d obstinate mule for ten miles. Heavens, that 
was a job. I have been chiefly employed during the week in sewing up 
stuff for the tents, little things, just for shelter in the snow, and after 
the first attempt I took famously to tailoring. We expect to start in 
two days so I shall now close this letter. I want you to do me a particu- 
lar favor, as early as possible, which is to procure a package of seeds 
either from the Botanical Garden of Saharanpore or Calcutta includ- 
ing all the Hymalayan Pines — creepers — Flowers & Fruit — and in 
fact anything rare that Indian Botany offers, also some Grane and 
Dhol. All these must be properly ticketted and the package Her- 
metically sealed and when received by you, sent on as quick as possi- 
ble by the Cunard Steamer to the address I give below. 
Colonel J. C. Fremont. 

care of Messrs. Howland and Aspinall. 
New Yorl{. 
They are for Fremont to whom I wish to give them as some return 
for his kindness and to whom they will be most acceptable as he is a 
great botanist and I have no doubt that most of them would do well 
in the fine climate of California. If you see Sir G. Clarke" he could 
assist in getting them as he understands these matters. Give him my 
kindest remembrances. If not Bacon ^ could put you in the way; the 
great thing is to get the seeds as quickly home as possible — I will 
repay you any expenses when we meet. Pray set about it as early as 
possible. I must now stop; my writing is worse than usual, but I am 
sitting on the ground writing on my knee which partly accounts for 
it. God bless you, old boy — Ever your sincere, 

A. Cathcart 

P.S. Best regards to Bacon and Arthur.^ I will write by the first oppor- 
tunity. I wish you were here. I had the satisfaction of hearing from 
poor Ruxton s brother. He had seen the account of his brother s death 
in the paper and came to St. Lx)uis not being aware that I had made 
all the arrangements. I only missed him by one day. 

A. C. 


ALS (National Register of Archives, Scotland — Cathcart Papers). Charles 
John Colville (1818-1903) was a close friend and fellow officer of Cathcart s in 
the 11th (Prince Alberts own) Regiment of Hussars. In 1849 he succeeded his 
uncle as the eleventh Baron of Scotland and in 1885 was created a peer of the 
United Kingdom (hart's annual army list, 7 [1846]:137; who was who). 

1. Benjamin, Richard, and Edward Kern. 

2. At the time of Cathcart's letter, Sir George Clerk (1787-1867) was repre- 
senting Dover in Parliament. In 1862 he became president of the Zoological 

3. Not identified. 

4. Not identified. 

32. Andrew Cathcart to C. J. Colville 

"Fremont's Camp". 
Oct. 30th, 1848 

Dear Colville. 

I am very glad to have an opportunity of letting you know that I 
am getting on famously. Some of our Indians return tomorrow to the 
setdements and I send a few letters by them. We have now been 
eleven days out and have hitherto made a good journey. The first 
week the d — d mules and new hands ("greenhorns") were trouble- 
some but now all men and beasts have setded to their work. We trav- 
elled South of the Santa Fe trail up the Kanzas and are now on the 
Smoky Hill Fork some where about the 38th parallel of Latitude 
(West of Washington, 101 Greenwich), and the 24th of Longitude and 
250 miles from Setdements. We came through the Pottawatomie In- 
dians and are now on the Great Indian War Ground, daily and 
righdy looking out for an attack from the Pawnees. We yesterday 
reached Buffallo. 

I had such a chapter of accidents and killed nothing. I was with 
three of the hunters and we all got bogged in the river; I lost my six 
shooter pistol, spurs, broke my wiping stick and had to cut my reins 
to prevent my mule being drowned. I did not discern the loss of the 
pistol for some time, when I returned on the trail and waded above 
my middle twice through the river in the vain hope of finding my 
pistol. I had taken my boots off to wade and not being able to get 
them on again had to ride my mule in stockings and with a halter ten 


miles to camp. Today I had better luck and killed two bulls. It was 
great fun. I brought a mule load of meat into camp. There are few 
cows about as yet and the grass is so wretched that we cannot afford 
to "run them," at least have to be careful, but approach them, easy 
work; after all I shot one fellow today off my mule, having cut him 
off. I brought him down at the first go at about 30 yards and soon had 
some society about in the shape of wolves, licking their chops and 
squatting about. 

The life is damned hard; we start at sunrise, having breakfasted by 
star-light and travel till near sun down, always camping in a strong 
position and keeping guard. Our danger now (except Indians) is 
snow; it looks like it and if we catch it here on the Prairies it will kill 
our animals. It is infernally cold, I wish you could feel the Mercury. I 
can hardly write, my hands are in such a state, all due to bruises by 
working. I assure you I do harder work than any private in the Cher- 
rybums; you ought to see my plight, such dirt. I quite like it and con- 
sider my red flannel shirt which I have only worn 14 days as being 
quite clean. I assure you one learns to turn his hand to anything out 
here, and tonight I have to make myself leather pockets to my trou- 
sers, a pr. of moccasins and clean my gun, run bullets, cut up some 
meat and I catch, saddle, water and tie up my mules. Give my love to 
Peel, Noel ' and Arthur. I will write when I can. Ever yours, 

A. Cathcart 

We expect to reach Bent's Fort, a trading post on the Arkansa, in 12 
days. There we stop 2 days and thence we start to cross the mountains. 
If we are snowed up we shall have to eat our mules. Fremont, who 
has twice had to do it before, says it is not bad feeding; he is a very 
nice fellow, very gentlemanlike and quiet. If all goes right we shall 
reach the Pacific by the end of the year. Write me to Canton — I shall 
certainly try to get there. I wish I could hear from you, or that you 
were here; you would enjoy the life, rough but very pleasant and full 
of excitement. Adieu. 

A. C. 

ALS (National Register of Archives, Scotland — Cathcart Papers). 
1. Edmund Peel and Gerard James Noel had been lieutenants in the 11th 
Regiment of Hussars (hart's annual army list, 7 [1846J:317). 


33. Andrew Cathcart to C. J. Colville. 

"Camp" on the Southern bank 

OF THE Arkansa. Lat. 38. 

(Washington), Long. 104. 

Nov. 17th, 1848 

My dear Colville, 

If you take the trouble to look out in a map the above address you 
will see pretty nearly whereabouts I now am, 640 miles west of the 
Frontier. We have accomplished that distance in 25 days and all the 
time across the Prairies. I wrote you a few lines some weeks ago when 
some of our Indians returned and trust that you received them, as I 
knew that it would afford you pleasure to hear of my progress, and I 
was also desirous of showing you that I had not forgotten my promise 
of keeping you "au fait" of my movements. I only wish I could get 
some of your letters, but not a shadow of a chance exists of my being 
able to hear in any shape from Europe for many months, and I assure 
you that I find the absence of all intelligence of friends a very great 
blank. This letter goes with Fremont's to an Indian agent at a little 
miserable trading post near this, who will forward them by the first 

I told you in my last that we had just reached the Buffallo range 
and of my mishaps. That accursed river played the devil with me. I 
lost my Pistol, powder horn, spurs and broke my ramrod; however I 
made shift as I best could and made determined war on the "Savage 
Buffallo," of whom I laid a good many low. My riding mule turned 
out first rate for the sport, as I could fire off her back. All were fish 
that came to my net and I peppered anything, whether cow, calf or 
bull that I could get near. I gruelled my animal terribly, as I never 
followed the camp march but went away on the flanks. Once I lost 
myself and was rather panicked, not having a compass. I got back to 
the trail. 

How you would have enjoyed the sport and the eating (the cows at 
least) are excellent; the Prairie air gives a tremendous appetite. I was 
regularly "chivied" one day by an old bull whose shoulder I broke; I 
thought he could not move but on my going pretty close made such a 
charge that in three yards more I should have been tossed. You ought 
to have seen me kicking my mule along with all the vigour of desper- 


ation. His head for some lengths was close at her tail, but as she was 
regularly "scared" she saved me from a gore or two. I can assure you 
that they look very ugly, particularly when you approach on foot. I 
did not at all relish such crawling work, going a mile on ones belly 
and cutting your hands and knees to ribbons. 

The weather has been and is very cold. Our great danger was in 
meeting snowstorms and the Pawnees, and we did both. 

Our route lay up the Smoky Hill Fork, which the Pawnee trail 
crosses leading down to the Arkansa. The temperature was tolerably 
mild up to the 2nd Nov. when it changed and after two days threat- 
ening we were caught one morning in a tremendous snow storm and 
forced to take refuge in a little creek in the bush; here we spent a 
wretched day, a hurricane blowing all the time. Buffallo came close 
into the camp and I went after them. I got one of my hands rather 
frostbitten in holding my rifle without a mitten on but by snow rub- 
bing got it right again. 

The storm cleared in afternoon and we found some Indians near 
us who expressively made signs to us that they meant to "take our 
hair." We immediately set to work and "forted," that is, felled trees 
and formed an enclosure where we placed the animals and made 
every preparation for defending ourselves, but no attack took place, 
our precautions being too good for them to risk it. We always chose 
good camps, and Fremont picked out very stony places. The requi- 
sites of a good camp are water, grass and wood, the latter both for 
fires, shelter for the animals in storms and to enable you to make en- 
closures for defence. 

For the first 300 miles the Prairie was diversified in character, long 
slopes, little ravines and knolls. We were surrounded with fires and 
once or twice had difficulty in getting round them. One evening our 
camp was on fire and we had to burn against other fires that the wind 
was bringing rapidly on us. These lines of miles of flames are a mag- 
nificent sight, but (especially at night) keeps you in perpetual anxiety. 

The morning after the snow storm (Nov. 4th) was intensely cold; 
the Therm, before sunrise marked 12 and after sunrise 16. How 
should you fancy eating your breakfast by star light with the air 22 
degrees below freezing point? There was a keen mist too and our 
march over the freezing plain was a painful one. We lost several ani- 
mals, the storm and wretched grass having exhausted them. 

You will readily believe the life is not one of great ease. We always 
rise before the sun, breakfast by star light, travel all day and eat again 


in evening. Heavens, how I enjoy the tea\ we have a little with us. As 
long as we met BufFallo we lived on them, afterwards on bacon, and 
one day I had the luck to kill four racoons which we devoured with 
relish; they were immensely fat and I had a deuce of a job to bring 
them into camp as they weighed altogether upwards of 80 lbs. Some 
badgers which the men killed were also pronounced excellent. If you 
wish to try one boil him over-night and eat him cold; he does not 
otherwise do. 

You have no idea how this rough life finds out the weak parts of 
your garments. I am all shreds and patches and every day employed 
sewing and repairing damages. It is really a life of labour but I get on 
very well. We passed close to some very large Pawnee villages, luckily 
for us abandoned, and that in a hurry, as tomahawks &c. were scat- 
tered about. They had probably been surprised by a war party. We 
made some very long marches of 40, and one of 50, miles, when we 
struck this river. These long days used up many animals. We travelled 
down the Santa Fe trail for the last ten days close on heels of some 
Indians. Every night nearly we forded the river to the Islands for 
shelter, as they have a little wood on them. The river banks are per- 
fectly bare. 

One evening we had a bad crossing and both Fremont and I got 
sousings, our animals falling backwards with us. Our clothes were 
instantly frozen stiff and he got his feet slightly frostbitten. I stuck 
mine into the fire in time and saved them. We rested on the 12th with 
the Indians in front, having popped most unexpectedly right into a 
large village of some hundred lodges. They received us as friends, 
strange enough too as they were Comanches, a dread tribe as Wind- 
ham ' can tell you. We travelled some days in company without mo- 
lestation, but they pestered us greatly. They were fine looking men, 
very handsome Roman profiles all painted and ornaments. The vil- 
lage had quite a chivalric appearance, each lodge having in front on a 
tripod the lance, shield, bows and arrows of the inmates. They had a 
good many Spanish captives. Poor devils! they use them as slaves. I 
wanted to trade for one little child but they did not fancy the few 
goods we had. We got some dried meat from them, on which we are 
now living. It is very like shoe leather boiled but better than salt. 

On getting near this place we found three tribes of Indians as- 
sembled for trade, the Arapahoes, Apaches and Kiawos. Great feasts 
&c were going on and a new Indian agent' was making them a talk. I 
have had quite enough of these red men; they bother one to death and 


are dirty enough. Our camp looked like Cadin's gallery let loose, or 
rather animated. We wanted to trade, but did very little. Not an ani- 
mal could we get and we want them, otherwise we shall have to walk 
over the mountains. I have lost one of mine. 

We traded an Indian lodge, a great comfort, I assure you. I now 
write in it, squatted at the little fire in the centre. They are heavy to 
carry as the poles, 20 in number, are dragged by mules trailing on the 
ground. We made a halt here yesterday to refit a little. 

How Gerard ^ would laugh to see me washing my flannel shirt and 
other things but out here you must work for yourself. I am pretty 
certain I lead a harder life than can be led in Europe but it is wonder- 
ful how easy one comes into it. I am very fortunate in being with 
Fremont. I like him very much; he is very gentlemanlike and quiet 
and genial; we get on very well. However, I should enjoy it more if I 
had a friend with me, as former associations add so much to one's 

I sincerely trust that some day you and I may pass some pleasant 
days together. I wonder if you are hunting this winter or what you are 
about. I wish you were settled down. Remember when you write to 
give me all your history. I shall certainly, if I can accomplish it, go to 
Canton so write me there; you will have plenty of time; I do not sup- 
pose that I can, if all goes well, get there before May, probably much 
later. We march from here today up the river and shall probably fol- 
low it to its head water. Where we cross the mountains depends on 
the snow; it fell heavily yesterday. 

There are some very "ugly" Indians in our way about 200 miles 
from this; they defeated a 150 Americans a short time back, but per- 
haps our hitherto wonderful luck may still stick to us. I must now 
stop — I can hardly write for the cold, and though close to the fire, the 
ink keeps freezing. Give my love to Peel and Noel, Arthur &c. and 
Windham. Goody Bye, old boy, God bless. Ever yours, 

A. Cathcart 

P.S. I forgot to say that we have seen great numbers of elk; one band 
consisted of several hundred, a splendid sight. We have also killed an- 
telope and as for wolves I am sick of firing at them. I hope Cox ^ will 
pay my subscription to Pratts^ and the Kay; when you happen to go 
down there mention it to the clerk, I suppose I shall have some money 
sent there. The Rocky Mountains are now in sight, 200 miles distant. 


so I can now say that I have seen both the Himalayas and this great 
range in the same year. 

I wish you a merry Xmas; tell Arthur to take care of his hair — 
mine is coming out like the deuce. I have not had a squaw yet; some 
were offered by the Comanches but such brutes, lousy, all of them and 
the "Children of the Forest" suffer from severe Poxes, I discovered 
that Snooks (Cardigan)'' is very Indian like in features: shave his 
moustache, dye him brown and daub his face with red and he would 
make a capital "White Buffallo," as one of the Chiefs was called. An- 
other rejoiced in the name of the "Kettle-The Fat Meat Is Boiled In." 
Some of them were most hideously attired in coats and caps. We had 
some singular scenes but I must postpone them till we meet. Remem- 
ber me to Windham, he can give you an idea of the Prairies. I shall 
write a line to Jocelyn. 

A. C. 

ALS (National Register of Archives, Scotland — Cathcart Papers). 

1. Charles Ashe Windham (1810-70) and six fellow British officers stationed 
in Canada had come to St. Louis in 1840 and had gone farther west to hunt 
game and to study the habits of the Indians. Windham later became commander 
of the forces in Canada (sunder). 

2. Thomas Fitzpatrick (see Doc. No. 34). 

3. Lieut. Noel, referred to in Doc. No. 32. 

4. Messrs. Cox & Co. were the agents for the 11th Regiment of Hussars, i.e., 
held the soldiers' pay for them. 

5. Probably founded about 1841, Pratt's was a little club in London, just off 
St. James' Street (nevill, 36). 

6. James Thomas Brudenell (1797-1868), the seventh Earl of Cardigan, was 
the lieutenant colonel of Cathcart's old regiment (hart's annual army list, 7 
[1846]:137). He later took part in the charge of the Light Brigade at Balaclava. 
The cardigan jacket style was named after him. woodham-smith has an account 
of this ruthless aristocrat and his brother-in-law, George Charles Bingham, the 
third Earl of Lucan. 

34. Fremont to Thomas H. Benton 

Camp at Bent's Fort, Upper Arkansas, 

November 17, 1848 

We have met with very reasonable success and some good results in 
this first long step in our expedition. To avoid the danger of snow- 


storms upon the more exposed Arkansas route, I followed the line of 
the southern Kanzas,' (the true Kanzas river), and so far added some- 
thing to geography." For a distance of four hundred miles, our route 
led through a country affording abundant wood, game, and excellent 
grass. We find that the valley of the Kanzas affords by far the most 
eligible approach to the mountains. The whole valley soil is of very 
superior quality, and the route very direct (between thirty-eight and 
thirty-nine degrees). This line would afford continuous and good set- 
tlements certainly for four hundred miles, and is therefore worthy of 
consideration in any plan of approach to the mountains. We found 
our friend Major [Thomas] Fitzpatrick (United States Indian agent) 
in the full exercise of his functions, about thirty miles below this 
point, in what is called the "Big Timbers," and surrounded by about 
six hundred lodges of different nations — Apaches, Cumanches, Ki- 
owas, and Arapahoes. He is a most admirable agent, and has suc- 
ceeded in drawing out from among the Cumanches the whole Kiowa 
nation, with the exception of six lodges, and brought over among 
them a considerable number of lodges of the Apaches and Cuman- 
ches; and in a few years he could have them all farming on the 
Arkansas. We found him holding a talk with them, making a feast, 
and giving small presents. They were all on their good behavior, and 
treated us in a friendly manner, and gave us no annoyance; nor did 
we lose anything. We were three or four days among them. (The 
number of their lodges would indicate about six thousand.) ^ 

Both Indians and whites here report the snow to be deeper in the 
mountains than has for a long time been known so early in the sea- 
son, and they predict a severe winter. This morning, for the first time, 
the mountains showed themselves covered with snow, as well as the 
country around us; for it has snowed steadily the greater part of yes- 
terday and the night before. They look imposing and somewhat stern; 
still I am in nowise discouraged, and believe that we shall succeed in 
forcing our way across. We will, after crossing the chain before us, 
ascend the Rio del Norte to its head,^ descend to the Colorado, and 
across the Wah-satch mountain and the Great Basin country, some- 
where near the 37th parallel, and seek a (believed) pass between 37° 
and 38°, in the Sierra Nevada, which I wish to examine. The party is 
in good spirits and good health; we have a small store of provisions 
for hard times, and our instruments, barometer included, all in good 
order. We are always up an hour or two before light, and the break- 
fasts are all over, the horses and mules (about one hundred in num- 


ber) saddled and packed, and the camp preparing to move before sun- 
rise. This breakfasting before day in the open air, in a cold of from 
twelve to twenty degrees of freezing, contrasts strongly with home, 
but is necessary for the day's labor.^ 

Very few of our animals have given out, and the whole band is now 
in good condition. A new storm — a pouderie — overtook us on the 
4th, but we were looking out for it, and took care to be in wood, so 
that did us no harm.* Some men who arrived here from the Pueblos, 
near the Fontaine qui Bouit, (Boiling Springs river,) say they have 
never known the snow so deep in the mountains so early, and that 
there is every prospect of a severe winter. But this does not deter us. I 
have my party well prepared, and the men all made as comfortable as 
possible, and expect to overcome all obstacles. 

I was able to procure a good lodge (a conical skin tent, admitting of 
a fire in the centure, and with a hole at top to let out the smoke) from 
the Indians, which we put up yesterday for the first time, greatly to 
the delight of our compagnon de voyage. Captain Cathcart,* * who is 
eloquent in its praise for the comfort it secures. It was indeed wanted, 
for I found it almost impossible to work in a tent. After the fatigue of 
a day's ride, with the anxieties which winter exploration in an un- 
known country bring upon me, and with the demand upon one's 
strength which the mere resistance to cold always makes, it requires 
an exertion of courage to take astronomical observations, and then 
calculate them at night, in a linen tent, tired and cold, and make up 
the notes of the day. These observations and calculations are necessary 
to our safety, indispensable to our safe advance in a wild unknown 
country, and the lodge enables us to work with comparative pleasure. 
Besides my labors, the Kerns have their drawings and paintings to 
make — Preuss his field sketches to finish. We are all busy now round 
the fire, writing letters home — Cathcart also. He stands it well, and 
sends his letters to your care. The men can sleep under linen tents, but 
the lodge is indispensable to all who have to work. 

From this place we continue up the river to the Pueblos — seventy 
and one hundred miles above — where we shall get some supplies, 
and then bear south to cross the mountain range — a branch of the 

* Large trains of oxen, returning from the Mexican war, were caught in this 
storm, and sixteen hundred perished in it. 

**An EngUsh gentleman — an officer and traveller in India — and now a 
traveller with Fremont, whom he joined in St. Louis. 


Rocky Mountains — which divides the upper Arkansas from the up- 
per Rio del Norte; and, after crossing that, we shall have to cross the 
mountain chain — the mother chain — Sierra Madre — at the head of 
the Rio de Norte. A vigorous effort we trust, will carry us over. 

Printed in National Intelligencer, 26 Feb. 1849. The letter is probably a com- 
bination of letters to both Benton and JBF, since the journal labeled its column 
"Mr. Fremont's Letters — Extracts." The major part of the letter is also published 
in BiGELow, 359-60, and in upham, 274-76. 

1. This is today's Smoky Hill Fork of the Kansas. 

2. By pre-arrangement, a party of Delaware Indians, some of whom had been 
on JCF's third expedition, had joined them near the Wakarusa on 22 Oct. and 
guided them to the Smoky Hills. They turned homeward on 31 Oct. (CSmH- 
Edward M. Kern Diary). 

3. In the campaign biographies the paragraph continues: "I hope you will be 
able to give him some support. He [Fitzpatrick] will be able to save lives and 
money for the government, and knowing how difficult this Indian question may 
become, I am particular in bringing Fitzpatrick's operations to your notice. In a 
few years he might have them all farming here on the Arkansas." 

4. Historians have taken this statement to indicate that }CF wished to cross 
the Continental Divide by way of a pass which they have called Rio del Norte or 
Williams Pass, not by the better-known passes of Carnero (presently Cochetopa) 
and Cochetopa (presently North Cochetopa) in the Cochetopa complex. 

5. As published by JCF's biographers, the letter does not contain the three 
paragraphs which follow, but concludes with a personal observation that did not 
appear in the Intelligencer; "I think that I shall never cross the continent again, 
except at Panama. I do not feel the pleasure that I used to have in those labors, as 
they remain inseparably connected with painful circumstances, due mostly to 
them. It needs strong incitements to undergo the hardships and self denial of 
this kind of life, and as I find I have these no longer, I will drop into a quiet life. 
Should we have reasonable success, we shall be in California early in January, say 
about the 8th, where I shall expect to hear from all by the steamer. Referring you 
for other details to Jessie, to whom I have written at length, I remain, most affec- 
tionately yours, J. C. Fremont." 

35. Jessie B. Fremont to John Torrey 

Washington City — December 8th. 1848 
My Dear Sir, 

Mr. Fremont left me a list of plants to copy out for you, but until 
now I have had neither the quiet nor the strength to do it. A few days 
will bring it to a close, and you may derive fresh interest for examin- 
ing those from Feather river by reading the accounts of the great 
wealth of that region. Are there any flowers or plants peculiar to a 


gold region? One flower, 209, which Mr. Fremont supposes may be 
the "Cumas" may be belonging to that kind of earth. I have as you 
know very vague botanical ideas. Your daughter [Margaret] would 
laugh at me, but Mr. Fremont encourages my questionings and I am 
a sort of privileged person in the family which must excuse my ques- 
tioning you also. 

By some Indians who are to be sent back from Bent's Fort I shall 
get letters from Mr. Fremont before the New Year. Then, or at any 
time you wish to know anything I can inform you of, I hope you will 
let me have the pleasure of doing so. Father reserves for his part the 
sending of documents — none of any interest are out yet, but Mr. Fre- 
monts memoir is just coming in from the last session, and shall be 
sent to you. Very respectfully yours, 

Jessie Benton Fremont 
Dr. John Torrey 

ALS (NHi). 

36. Fremont to Jessie B. Fremont 

[27 Jan.- 17 Feb. 1849] 
Taos, New Mexico, January 27, 1849 

I write to you from the house of our good friend [Kit] Carson. This 
morning a cup of chocolate was brought to me, while yet in bed. To 
an overworn, overworked, fatigued, and starving traveller, these little 
luxuries of the world offer an interest which, in your comfortable 
home, it is not possible for you to conceive.' 

I have now the unpleasant task of telling you how I came here." I 
had much rather speak of the future (which plans for which I am 
already occupied), for the mind turns from the scenes I have wit- 
nessed and the sufferings we have endured; but as clear information is 
due you, and to your father still more, I will give you the story now, 
instead of waiting to tell it to you in California; but I write in the 
great hope that you will not receive this letter. When it reaches Wash- 
ington you may be on your way to California. 

Former letters will have made you acquainted with our progress as 
far as Bent's Fort, and, from report, you will have heard the circum- 


stances of our departure from the Upper Pueblo [the Hardscrabble set- 
tlement], near the head of the Arkansas. We left that place on the 25th 
of November with upwards of one hundred good mules and one 
hundred and thirty bushels of [shelled] corn, intended to support our 
animals in the deep snows of the high mountains and down to the 
lower parts of the Grand river * tributaries, where usually the snow 
forms no obstacle to winter travelling At Pueblo 1 had engaged as a 
guide an old trapper, well known as ''Bill Williams^' and who had 
spent some twenty-five years of his life in trapping in various parts of 
the Rocky Mountains. 

The error of our expedition was committed in engaging this man. 
He proved never to have known, or entirely to have forgotten, the 
whole country through which we were to pass. We occupied (after 
passing the mountain) more than half a month in making the prog- 
ress of a few days, blundering along a tortuous course, through deep 
snow, which already began to choke up the passes, and wasting our 
time in searching the way. The llth of December we found ourselves 
at the mouth of the Rio del Norte cafion,^ where that river issues from 
the Sierra San Juan — one of the highest, most rugged, and imprac- 
ticable of all the Rocky Mountain ranges, inaccessible to trappers and 
hunters, even in summer. Across the point of this elevated range our 
guide conducted us; and, having still great confidence in this man's 
knowledge, we pressed onwards with fatal resolution. Even among 
the river bottoms the snow was already breast deep for the mules, and 
falling frequendy in the valley and almost constandy in the moun- 
tains. The cold was extraordinary. At the warmest hours of the day 
(between one and two) the thermometer (Fahrenheit) stood, in the 
shade of a tree trunk, at zero; and that was a favorable day, the sun 
shining and a moderate breeze. Judge of the nights and the storms! 

We pressed up towards the summit, the snow deepening as we 
rose, and in four or five days of this struggling and climbing, all on 
foot, we reached the naked ridges which lie above the line of the tim- 
bered region, and which form the dividing heights between the wa- 
ters of the Adantic and Pacific oceans. Along these naked heights it 
storms all winter and the raging winds sweep across them with re- 
morseless fury. On our first attempt to cross we encountered a pou- 
derie — (dry snow driven thick through the air by violent wind, and in 
which objects are visible only at a short distance) — and were driven 

* A fork of the Colorado of the Gulf of California. 


back, having some ten or twelve men variously frozen — face, hands, 
or feet. The guide came near being frozen to death here, and dead 
mules were already lying about the camp fires. Meantime it snowed 
steadily. The next day (December — )^ we renewed the attempt to 
scale the summit, and were more fortunate, as it then seemed. Mak- 
ing mauls, and beating down a road, or trench, through the deep 
snow, we forced the ascent in defiance of the driving pouderie, crossed 
the crest, descended a little, and encamped immediately below in the 
edge of the timbered region. The trail showed as if a defeated party 
had passed by — packs, pack saddles, scattered articles of clothing, and 
dead mules strewed along. We were encamped about twelve thousand 
feet above the level of the sea. Westward the country was buried in 
snow. The storm continued. All movement was paralyzed. To ad- 
vance with the expedition was impossible: to get back, impossible. 
Our fate stood revealed. We were overtaken by sudden and inevitable 
ruin. The poor animals were to go first. The only places where grass 
could be had were the extreme summits of the sierra, where the 
sweeping winds kept the rocky ground bare, and where the men 
could not live. Below, in the timbered region, the poor animals could 
not get about, the snow being deep enough to bury them alive. It was 
instantly apparent that we should lose every one. I took my resolution 
immediately, and determined to recross the mountain back to the val- 
ley of the Rio del Norte, dragging or packing the baggage by men. 
With great labor the baggage was transported across the crest to the 
head springs of a little stream leading to the main river.^ A few days 
were sufficient to destroy the fine band of mules which you saw me 
purchase last fall on the frontier of Missouri. They generally kept 
huddled together; and, as they froze, one would be seen to tumble 
down and disappear under the driving snow. Sometimes they would 
break off, and rush down towards the timber till stopped by the deep 
snow, where they were soon hidden by the pouderie!' The courage of 
some of the men began to fail. 

In this situation I determined to send in a party to the Spanish 
settlements of New Mexico for provisions, and for mules to transport 
our baggage. With economy, and after we should leave the mules, we 
had not two weeks' provisions in the camp; and these consisted of a 
reserve of maccaroni, bacon, sugar, &c., intended for the last ex- 
tremity. It was indispensable to send for relief I asked for volunteers 
for the service. From the many that offered I chose King, Bracken- 
ridge, Creutzfeldt, and the guide, Williams; and placed the party un- 


der the command of King, with directions to send me an express in 
case of the least delay at the settlements. It was the day after Christ- 
mas that this little party set out for relief' That day, like many Christ- 
mas days for years past, was spent by me on the side of the wintry 
mountain, my heart filled with anxious thoughts and gloomy fore- 
bodings. You may be sure we contrasted it with the Christmas of 
home, and made warm wishes for your happiness. Could you have 
looked into Agrippa's glass for a few moments only! You remember 
the volumes of Blackstone s Commentaries which I took from your 
fathers library when we were overlooking it at our friend Brants?** 
They made my Christmas ''amusements.'^ I read them to pass the 
time, and to kill the consciousness of my situation. Certainly you may 
suppose that my first law lessons will be well remembered. 

The party for relief being gone, we of the camp occupied ourselves 
in removing the baggage and equipage down the side of the moun- 
tain to the river in the valley. Now came on the tedium of waiting for 
the return of the relief party. Day after day passed, and no news from 
them. Snow fell almost incessantly in the mountains. The spirits of 
the camp grew lower. Life was losing its charm to those who had not 
reasons beyond themselves to live. Proue laid down in the trail and 
froze to death. In a sunshiny day, and having with him the means to 
make a fire, he threw his blanket down on the trail, laid down upon 
it, and laid there till he froze to death! We were not then with him. 
Sixteen days passed away, and no tidings from the party sent for 
relief. I became oppressed with anxiety, weary of delay, and deter- 
mined to go myself, both in search of the absent party, and in search 
of relief in the Mexican setdements. I was aware that our troops in 
New Mexico had been engaged in hostilities with the Spanish Utahs, 
and with the Apaches, who range in the valley of the Rio del Norte 
and the mountains where we were, and became fearful that they 
(King and his party) had been cut off by these Indians. I could imag- 
ine no other accident to them. Leaving the camp employed with the 
baggage, under the command of Vincenthaler, with injunctions to 
follow me in three days, I set off down the river with a small party, 
consisting of Godey, his young nephew, Preuss, and Saunders (colored 
servant)."* We carried our arms and provisions for two or three days. 
In the camp (left under the command of Vincenthaler) the messes 
only had provisions for a few meals, and a supply of five pounds of 
sugar to each man. If I failed to meet King my intention was to make 
the Mexican settlement on the Colorado, a little affluent of the Rio 


del Norte, about half a degree above Taos (you will see it on my map), 
and then send back the speediest relief possible to the party under 

On the second day after leaving camp we came upon a fresh trail of 
Indians — two lodges, with a considerable number of animals. This 
did not lessen our uneasiness for our long-absent people. The Indian 
trail, where we fell upon it, turned and went down the river, and we 
followed it. On the fifth day (after leaving camp) we surprised an In- 
dian on the ice of the river. He proved to be a Utah, son of a Grand 
River chief whom we had formerly known, and he behaved towards 
us in a friendly manner. We encamped near them at night. By a pres- 
ent of a rifle, my two blankets, and other promised rewards when we 
should get in, I prevailed on this Indian to go with us as a guide to the 
Little Rio Colorado settlement, and to take with him four of his 
horses to carry our little baggage. The horses were miserably poor, 
and could only get along at a slow walk. On the next day (the sixth of 
our progress) we left the Indians lodges late and travelled only some 
six or seven miles. About sunset we discovered a litde smoke, in a 
grove of timber, off from the river, and, thinking perhaps it might be 
our express party (King and his men) on their return, we went to see. 
This was the twenty-second day since that party had left us, and the 
sixth since we have left the camp under Vincenthaler. We found 
them — three of them: Creutzfelt, Brackenridge, and Williams — the 
most miserable objects I had ever beheld. I did not recognize Creutz- 
felt's features, when Brackenridge brought him up and told me his 
name. They had been starving! King had starved to death a few days 
before. His remains were some six or eight miles above, near the 
river." By aid of the Indian horses we carried these three with us, 
down to the valley, to the Pueblo on the Litde Colorado, which we 
reached the fourth day afterwards (the tenth after leaving the camp 
on the mountains), having travelled through snow, and on foot, one 
hundred and sixty miles.'" 

I looked upon the feeling which induced me to set out from the 
camp as an inspiration. Had I remained there, waiting the return of 
poor King's party, every man of us must have perished. 

The morning after reaching the Little Colorado Pueblo (horses and 
supplies not being there), Godey and I rode on to the Rio Hondo, and 
thence to Taos, about twenty-five miles, where we found what we 
needed; and the next morning Godey, with four Mexicans, thirty 
horses or mules, and provisions, set out on his return to the relief of 


Vincenthaler's party. I heard from him at the Little Colorado Pueblo, 
which he reached the same day he left me, and pressed on the next 
morning. On the way he received an accession of eight or ten horses, 
turned over to him by the orders of Major [Benjamin L.] Beall, of the 
army, commanding officer of this northern district of New Mexico. 
From him I received the offer of every aid in his power, and such 
actual assistance as he was able to render. Some horses, which he had 
just recovered from the Utahs, were loaned to me, and he supplied me 
from the commissary's department with provisions, which I could 
have had nowhere else.'^ I find myself in the midst of friends. With 
Carson is living [Richard] Owens. [Lucien B.] Maxwell is at his 
father-in-law's, doing a prosperous business as a merchant and con- 
tractor for the troops. I remain here with these old comrades, while 
Godey goes back; because it was not necessary for me to go with him, 
and it was necessary for me to remain, and prepare the means of re- 
suming the expedition to California as soon as he returns with the 
men left behind. I expect him on Wednesday evening, the 3 1st instant, 
this being the 17th [27th]. 

Say to your father that these are my plans for the future: 
At the beginning of February (Godey having got back at that time) 
I shall set out for California, taking the southern route — the old 
route — by the RioAbajo, the Paso del Norte, the south side of the Gila, 
entering California by the Agua Caliente, thence to Los Angeles and 
immediately to San Francisco, expecting to get there in March, and 
hoping for your arrival in April. It is the first time I have explored an 
old road,''* but cannot help it now. I shall move rapidly taking with 
me but a part of my party. '^ The survey * * has been uninterrupted up to 
this point, and I shall carry it on consecutively. As soon as possible after 
reaching California I shall go on with it [i.e., the survey of the coast 
country]. I shall then be able to draw up a map and report of the 
whole country, agreeably to our original plan. Your father knows that 
this is an object of great desire with me.'*" All my other plans remain 
entirely unaltered. A home in California is the first point, and that will 
be ready for you in April. 

Evening — Mr. [Ceran] St. Vrain and Aubrey, who have just ar- 
rived from Sante Fe, called to see me.'^ I had the gratification to learn 
that St. Vrain sets out from Santa Fe on the 15th of February for St. 

**With a view, among other great objects, to the Mississippi and Pacific 


Louis; so that by him I shall have an early and sure opportunity of 
sending you my letters — the one I now write, and others after the 
return of Godey, and up to our departure for California. Lieut. Beale 
left Santa Fe on his way to California on the 9th of this month. He 
probably carried on with him any letters that might have been in his 
care, or at Santa Fe, for me.'* 

Monday, January 29. — My letter assumes a journal form. No news 
from Godey. A great deal of falling weather — rain and sleet here — 
snow in the mountains. This is to be considered a poor country, 
mountainous, with but little arable land, and infested with hostile 

I am anxiously waiting to hear from my party, and in much un- 
easiness as to their fate. My presence kept them together and quiet: 
my absence may have had a bad affect. When we overtook King's 
famishing party, Brackenridge said to me 'He felt himself safe! 

Taos, New Mexico, February 6, 1849 

After a long delay, which had wearied me to a point of resolving to 
set out again myself, tidings have at last reached me from my ill-fated 

Mr. Vincent Haler came in last night, having the night before 
reached the Litde Colorado setdement, with three or four others. In- 
cluding Mr. King and Mr. Proulx [Proue], we have lost eleven of our 

Occurrences, since I left them, are briefly these, so far as they came 
within the knowledge of Mr. Haler: I say briefly, because I am now 
unwilling to force my mind to dwell upon the details of what has 
been suffered. I need reprieve from terrible contemplations. I am ab- 
solutely astonished at this persistence of misfortune — this succession 
of calamities which no care or vigilance of mine could foresee or 

You will remember that I had left the camp (twenty-three men) 
[twenty-four] when I set off with Godey, [Godey s nephew], Preuss, 
and my servant in search of King and succor, with directions about 
the baggage, and with occupation sufficient about it to employ them 
for three or four days; after which they were to follow me down the 
river. Within that time I expected relief from King's party, if it came 
at all. They remained seven days, and then started, their scant provi- 


sions about exhausted, and the dead mules on the western side of the 
great Sierra buried under snow. 

Manuel — (you will remember Manuel — a Christian Indian of the 
Cosumne tribe, in the valley of the San Joaquin) — gave way to a feel- 
ing of despair after they had moved about two miles and begged Vin- 
cent Haler, whom I had left in command, to shoot him. Failing to 
find death in that form, he turned and made his way back to the 
camp, intending to die there; which he doubdess soon did. 

The party moved on, and at ten miles Wise gave out — threw away 
his gun and blanket — and, a few hundred yards further, fell over into 
the snow, and died. Two Indian boys — countrymen of Manuel — 
were behind. They came upon him — rolled him up in his blanket, 
and buried him in the snow, on the bank of the river. 

No other died that day. None the next. 

Carver raved during the night — his imagination wholly occupied 
with images of many things which he fancied himself to be eating. In 
the morning he wandered off, and probably soon died. He was not 
seen again. 

Sorel on this day (the fourth from the camp) laid down to die. 
They built him a fire, and Morin, who was in a dying condition, and 
snow-blind, remained with him.-' These two did not probably last till 
the next morning. That evening (I think it was) Hubbard killed 
a deer. 

They travelled on, getting here and there a grouse, but nothing 
else, the deep snow in the valley having driven off the game. 

The state of the party became desperate, and brought Haler to the 
determination of breaking it up, in order to prevent them from living 
upon each other. He told them that he had done all he could for 
them — that they had no other hope remaining than the expected re- 
lief — and that the best plan was to scatter, and make the best of their 
way, each as he could, down the river; that, for himself, if he was to be 
eaten, he would, at all events be found travelling when he did die. 
This address had its effect. They accordingly separated. 

With Haler continued five others — Scott, Hubbard, Martin, Ba- 
con, one Itwo] otherfs] [Ducatel and Rohrer], and the two Cosumne 
Indian boys." 

Rohrer now became despondent, and stopped. Haler reminded 
him of his family, and urged him to try and hold out for their sake. 
Roused by this appeal to his tenderest affections, the unfortunate man 


moved forward, but feebly, and soon began to fall behind. On a fur- 
ther appeal he promised to follow, and to overtake them at evening. 

Haler, Scott, Hubbard, and Martin now agreed that if any one of 
them should give out the others were not to wait for him to die, but to 
push on, and try and save themselves. Soon this mournful covenant 
had to be kept. But let me not anticipate events. Sufficient for each 
day is the sorrow thereof 

At night Kerne s party encamped a few hundred yards from Haler s, 
with the intention, according to Taplin, to remain where they were 
until the relief should come, and in the mean time to live upon those 
who had died, and upon the weaker ones as they should die. With 
this party were the three brothers Kerne, Captain Cathcart, McKie 
[McGehee], Andrews, Stepperfelt, and Taplin. I do not know that I 
have got all the names of this party."^ 

Ferguson and Beadle had remained together behind. In the eve- 
ning Rohrer came up and remained in Kernes party. Haler, learnt 
afterwards from some of the party that Rohrer and Andrews wan- 
dered off the next morning and died. They say they saw their bodies. 

Haler s party continued on. After a few hours Hubbard gave out. 
According to the agreement he was left to die, but with such comfort 
as could be given him. They built him a fire and gathered him some 
wood, and then left him — without turning their heads, as Haler says, 
to look at him as they went off. 

About two miles further Scott — you remember him; he used to 
shoot birds for you on the frontier — he gave out. He was another of 
the four who had covenanted against waiting for each other. The sur- 
vivors did to him as they had done for Hubbard, and passed on. 

In the afternoon the two Indian boys went ahead — blessed be these 
boys! — and before nightfall met Godey with the relief. He had gone 
on with all speed. The boys gave him the news. He fired signal guns 
to notify his approach. Haler heard the guns, and knew the crack of 
our rifles, and felt that relief had come. This night was the first of 
hope and joy. Early in the morning, with the first gray light, Godey 
was in the trail, and soon met Haler and the wreck of his party slowly 
advancing. I hear that they all cried together like children — these 
men of iron nerves and lion hearts, when dangers were to be faced or 
hardships to be conquered. They were all children in this moment of 
melted hearts. Succor was soon dealt out to these few first met; and 
Godey with his relief, and accompanied by Haler, who turned back 


hurriedly followed the back trail in search of the living and the dead, 
scattered in the rear. They came to Scott first. He was yet alive, and is 
saved! They came to Hubbard next: he was dead, but still warm. 
These were the only ones of Haler's party that had been left. 

From Kernes party, next met, they learnt the deaths of Andrews 
and Rohrer; and, a little further on, met Ferguson, who told them 
that Beadle had died the night before. All the living were found — 
and saved — Manuel among them — which looked like a resurrec- 
tion — and reduced the number of the dead to ten — one-third of the 
whole party which a few days before were scaling the mountain with 
me, and battling with the elements twelve thousand feet in the air. 

Godey had accomplished his mission for the people: a further ser- 
vice had been prescribed him, that of going to the camp on the river, 
at the base of the great mountain, to recover the most valuable of the 
baggage, secreted there. With some Mexicans and pack mules he 
went on; and this is the last yet heard of him. "^ 

Vincent Haler, with Martin and Bacon, all on foot, and bringing 
Scott on horseback, have just arrived at the outside Pueblo on the 
Little Colorado. Provisions for their support, and horses for their 
transport, were left for the others, who preferred to remain where 
they were, regaining some strength, till Godey should get back. At the 
latest, they would have reached the little Pueblo last night. Haler came 
on to relieve my anxieties, and did well in so doing; for I was wound 
up to the point of setting out again. When Godey returns I shall 
know from him all the circumstances sufficiendy in detail to under- 
stand clearly every thing. But it will not be necessary to tell you any 
thing further. You have the results, and sorrow enough in read- 
ing them. 

Evening^'^ — How rapid are the changes of life! A few days ago, 
and I was struggling through snow in the savage wilds of the upper 
Del Norte — following the course of the frozen river in more than 
Russian cold — no food — no blanket to cover me in the long freezing 
nights — (I had sold my two to the Utah for help to my men) — uncer- 
tain at what moment of the night we might be roused by the Indian 
rifle — doubtful, very doubtful, whether I should ever see you or 
friends again. Now I am seated by a comfortable fire, alone — pursu- 
ing my own thoughts — writing to you in the certainty of reaching 
you — a French volume of Balzac on the table — a colored print of the 
landing of Columbus before me — listening in safety to the raging 
storm without! 


You will wish to know what effect the scenes I have passed through 
have had upon me. In person, none. The destruction of my party, and 
the loss of friends, are causes of grief; but I have not been injured in 
body or mind. Both have been strained, and severely taxed, but nei- 
ther hurt. I have seen one or the other, and sometimes both, give way 
in strong frames, strong minds, and stout hearts; but, as heretofore, I 
have come out unhurt. I believe that the rememberance of friends 
sometimes gives us a power of resistance which the desire to save our 
own lives could never call up. 

I have made my preparations to proceed. I shall have to follow the 
old Gila road, and shall move rapidly, and expect to be in California 
in March, and to find letters from home, and a supply of newspapers 
and documents, more welcome perhaps, because these things have a 
home look about them. The future occupies me. Our home in Cali- 
fornia — your arrival in April — your good health in that delightful 
climate — the finishing up my geographical and astronomical la- 
bors — my farming labors and enjoyments. I have written to Messrs. 
Mayhew & Co., agricultural warehouse, New York, requesting them 
to ship me immediately a threshing machine; and to Messrs. Hoe & 
Co., same city, requesting them to forward to me at San Francisco 
two runs, or sets of mill stones. The mill irons and the agricultural 
instruments shipped for me last autumn from New York will be at 
San Francisco by the time I arrive there. Your arrival in April will 
complete all the plans. 

[These extracts in relation to Colonel Fremont's intended pursuits 
are given to contradict the unfounded supposition of gold projects at- 
tributed to him by some newspapers. The word gold is not mentioned 
in his letters from one end to the other, nor did he take gold mining 
the least into his calculation when he left Missouri on the 21st of Octo- 
ber last, although the authentic reports brought in by Lieut. Beale, of 
the navy, were then in all the newspapers, and fully known to him.] "^ 

February 11. — Godey has got back. He did not succeed in recover- 
ing any of the baggage or camp furniture. Everything was lost except 
some few things which I had brought down to the river. The depth of 
the snow made it impossible for him to reach the camp at the moun- 
tain where the men had left the baggage. Amidst the wreck I had the 
good fortune to save my large alforgas, or travelling trunk — the dou- 
ble one which you packed — and that was about all. 

Sante Fe, February 17, 1849. — In the midst of hurried movements, 
and in the difficult endeavor to get a party all started together, I can 


only write a line to say that I am well, and moving on to California. I 
will leave Santa Fe this evening. 

I have received here from the officers every civility and attention 
in their power, and have been assisted in my outfit as far as it was 
possible for them to do. I dine this evening with the Governor, 
(Col. Washington) before I follow my party."' A Spanish gendeman 
has been engaged to go to Albuquerque and purchase mules for me. 
From that place we go on my own animals, and expect no detention, 
as we follow the old Gila route, so long known, and presenting 
nothing new to stop for. 

Printed in National Intelligencer, 14 and 16 April 1849. The letter presented 
here is made up of a series of excerpts from a number of letters written from 
Taos and Santa Fe by JCF and addressed to JBF in Washington, and in her ab- 
sence to Senator Benton, and in his absence to William Carey Jones. JBF was on 
her way to California, but Benton showed the origmals to the editors of the Na- 
tional Intelligencer, who published excerpts in order of their dates. The letters had 
been carried to St. Louis by Ceran St. Vrain and forwarded on to Washington. 

BiGELOw, 365-76, and upham, 279-96, print a slightly different version of the 
letter or letters. Significant differences are noted in the footnotes below. 

1. In BiGELOW, 366, and upham, 279, the paragraph continues: "While in the 
enjoyment of this luxury, then, I pleased myself in imagining how gratified you 
will be in picturing me here in Kit's care, whom you will fancy constantly oc- 
cupied ancl constantly uneasy in endeavoring to make me comfortable. How 
litde could you have dreamed of this while he was enjoying the pleasant hospi- 
tality of your father's house. The furthest thing then from your mind was that he 
would ever repay it to me here." 

2. BIGELOW, 366, and upham, 279-80, continue: "I had much rather write you 
some rambling letters in unison with the repose in which I feel inclined to in- 
dulge, and talk to you about the future with which I am already busily occupied; 
about my arrangements for getting speedily down into the more pleasant climate 
of the lower Del Norte and rapidly through into California; and my plans when 
I get there. I have an almost invincible repugnance to going back among scenes 
where I have endured much suffering, and for all the incidents and circum- 
stances of which I feel a strong aversion. But as clear information is absolutely 
necessary to you, and to your father more particularly still, I will give you the 
story now instead of waiting to tell it to you in California. But I write in the 
great hope that you will not receive the letter. When it reaches Washington you 
may be on your way to California." 

3. In BIGELOW, 367, and upham, 281, the clause reads: "About the 11th De- 
cember we found ourselves at the North of the Del Norte Canon." This is un- 
doubtedly the correct rendering and places JCF on Carnero Creek. Specifics of 
the movements of the expedition in the mountains are given in the notes to Doc. 
No. 39. 

4. December 17 according to Benjamin Kern (Diary, CSmH). JCF thought 
he had crossed the Continental Divide and that his party had been on the Colo- 
rado River drainage. This had not been true. The men had merely crossed to the 
headwaters of Wannamaker Creek, a tributary of the Saquache, and had re- 


mained in the Rio Grande watershed. Wannamaker Creek would have even- 
tually led into Carnero Pass. When Patrica Joy Richmond visited the Wanna- 
maker site in 1981 she walked the ridge toward the west "and suddenly was 
struck by the practicality of that as a summer route to the Coochatope" (Rich- 
mond to Mary Lee Spence, 17 Jan. 1983). 

5. The expedition had established a camp in the protection of trees on the 
west slope of Rincones Creek, about three and a half miles from the Wanna- 
maker Creek camp. The new base was sometimes called Christmas Camp or 
Camp Hope. 

6. As printed in bigelow and upham the letter continues: "The courage of 
the men failed fast; in fact, I have never seen men so soon discouraged by misfor- 
tune as we were on this occasion; but, as you know, the party was not constituted 
like the former ones. But among those who deserve to be honorably mentioned 
and who behaved like what they were — men of the old exploring party, — were 
Godey, King, and Taplin; and first of all Godey." 

7. According to Preuss, their destination was Abiquiu, about one hundred 
miles away at Rio Chama. King was supplied with money and "everything was 
thoroughly discussed until late in the night" (preuss, 146, 27 Dec. entry). Godey 
went a short way with them to ascertain how the main party could get down 
from the mountains with the baggage. 

It took the relief party three days to reach the Rio Grande, which they fol- 
lowed out into the plains of the San Luis Valley. Then, at the point where the 
river makes a great bend to the south, they struck off across the country, possibly 
to save mileage or possibly to avoid a camp of Ute Indians, whose enmity Wil- 
liams had recently incurred (see breckenridge [1] and [2]). Later, Thomas S. 
Martin remembered hearing that Williams had left the river to attempt to reach 
a small settlement on the Conejos River called Socorro (martin), although it is 
doubtful that this little Mexican town still existed in 1849. If so, help would have 
been nearer than Abiquiu. Whatever the motive for the shortcut, the party suf- 
fered "all the agonies of Hell," and King never made it to the Rio Grande. 

8. Joshua B. Brant, the husband of Jessie s cousin, Sarah Benton of St. Louis. 

9. The entire party might have been saved had JCF abandoned the baggage 
at this time, 11 Jan., and taken all the men with him. 

10. In place of this sentence ending the paragraph, bigelow and upham print: 
"Failing to meet King, my intention was to make the Red River settlement 
about twenty-five miles north of Taos, and send back the speediest relief possi- 
ble. My instructions to the camp were, that if they did not hear from me within a 
stated time, they were to follow down the Del Norte." 

11. JCF does not write that Creutzfeldt, Breckenridge, and Williams had 
eaten part of King's body. Nor does he indicate that he and members of his party 
actually saw the body, but Preuss recorded: "King had died ot exhaustion four 
days before, and the others had eaten part of his body" (preuss, 149, [17? Jan.] 
entry). And at the little Red River settlement of Questa, awaiting the results of 
Godey s rescue efforts, Preuss noted, "Yesterday there was a rumor that a Utah 
Indian had seen a man wandering through the prairie with two human legs on 
his back. After what I have experienced, I am inclined to believe this." When 
Vinsonhaler s party got in with news of the others, Preuss recorded: "Human 
flesh, to be sure, was not eaten again as far as I could learn" (preuss, 151-52, 3 
and 6 Feb. entries). Very early, 2 Feb. 1849, before the arrival of Vinsonhaler s 
advance party at Questa, the Santa Fe Republican reported cannibalism among 
the party. Presumably their correspondent at Taos had received the information 


from JCF (reprinted in hafen & hafen, 237-38). Benjamin Kern wrote that a 
member of the first rescue party "was all eaten by the others," and Taplin re- 
ported in St. Louis that King's companions had eaten his body. "A dire necessity 
had left them no choice, and it was done in self protection" (Benjamin Kern to 
Joe, 20 Feb. 1849, CSmH; Charles Taplm's report in Samt Louis Weef{ly Reveille, 
30 April 1849, reprinted in hafen & hafen, 195-97). Kern's and Taplin's mfor- 
mation could only have come second hand. Breckenridge ignores the charge in 
both his versions of the story (breckenridge [1] and [2]). Thomas Martin stated 
from hearsay not only that King's companions had eaten part of his body but 
also that there had been cannibalism among the Kern-McGehee party (martin). 
For a discussion of his charge, see n. 22 below. 

12. In old age, Breckenridge maintained that JCF had left him, Williams, 
and Creutzfeldt to make the fifty-mile trip to Questa as best they could. This 
was not true. Preuss and Edward Kern confirm JCF's statement that he picked 
them up on the way down (preuss, 150, 23 Jan. entry; E. M. Kern to Mary Wolfe 
Kern, 10 Feb. 1849, CSmH). 

13. As early as 19 March 1849, Richard Kern charged that the provisions had 
not been turned over to the men (Doc. No. 39). The charge was resurrected dur- 
ing the presidential campaign of 1856 and answered in a letter over Godey's sig- 
nature. With reference to the regrouping for California, he stated: "Our party 
was at once formed, and started down towards Albuquerque, at which place, 
some 200 miles south of Taos, we for the first time were enabled to procure mili- 
tary stores, showing the looseness of the assertion made by Kern that Fremont 
obtained rations for his party (from the Carnero Pass), which he appropriated to 
his own use. He neither procured, nor was he provided with any rations at Taos, 
nor, after he left that place, and until he had made some two hundred miles on 
the route to California, did he have an opportunity of obtaining any, and these 
were furnished by myself, with funds furnished by him for the use and purposes 
of the trip to California. Thus much for the ration business. 

"The supplies which were sent back to the Carnero Pass were purchased by 
me, with moneys furnished by Col. Fremont, and the Messrs. Kern freely par- 
ticipated in them, and alike with the others were amply cared for upon their 
arrival in Taos" (Godey to John O. Wheeler, 12 Sept. 1856, as printed in the 
New York Evening Post, 30 Oct. 1856, and republished in hafen & hafen, 

In view of JCF's letter and of two documents found among the Fort Sutter 
Papers (CSmH), not all of Godey's statement is convincing. In February Henry 
Casey of the commissary at Taos furnished the starving men "580 lbs. of bacon, 
850 lbs. of flour, 75 lbs. of rice, 50 lbs. of coffee, 100 lbs. of sugar, 35 lbs. of soap, 
8 lbs. of candles, and 15 qrts. of salt." On 28 March 1849 Major Beall certified, 
probably truthfully but undoubtedly at the request of the Kerns, who were col- 
lecting anti-Fremont ammunition, that they had been supplied on his order and 
with no charge to JCF. He added, "These provisions were not furnished for indi- 
vidual benefit, but for the whole party." In a "return," dated 1 1 Feb. 1849, Casey 
lists a smaller quantity of supplies that JCF purchased from the commissary "for 
the purpose of rationing his men to California." Undoubtedly, the men who 
went on to California took their rations with them, leaving the six "drop-outs" 
meager pickings and certainly not enough to last thirty days. 

14. JCF's reference to exploring an "old road" does not appear in bigelow 
and upham. 

15. In bigelow and upham the sentence reads: "I shall break up my party 
here and take with me only a few men." 


16. In BiGELOw and upham the sentence continues, "and I trust it is not too 
much to hope that he may obtain the countenance and aid of the President 
(whoever he may be) in carrying it on effectually and rapidly to completion. For 
this I hope earnestly." 

17. In BIGELOW and upham the reference to the visit of St. Vrain and Au- 
bry appears before JCF outlines his California plans. Franqois Xavier Aubry 
(1824-54) was a prominent southwestern trader and explorer. In 1852 he began 
driving New Mexican sheep to the California market, but this activity was cut 
short by Richard H. Weightman, who during an argument stabbed him fatally 
with a bowie knife (bieber, 38-62). 

18. See Doc. No. 61, n. 3. 

19. Between here and the final paragraph of the 29 Jan. entry, bigelow and 
UPHAM print: "To hold this country will occasion the government great expense, 
and, certainly, one can see no source of profit or advantage in it. An additional 
regiment will be required tor special service here. 

"Mr. St. Vrain dined with us today. Owens goes to Missouri in April to get 
married, and thence by water to California. Carson is very anxious to go there 
with me now, and afterwards move his family thither, but he cannot decide to 
break off from Maxwell and family connections." 

20. Ten died on the expedition. Vinsonhaler, who brought JCF the first news, 
did not know of Manuel's rescue by Godey. 

21. According to Taplin, Morin had wandered around in search of game, and 
then finally "followed in the footsteps of Col. Fremont, with a desperate hope of 
overtaking him" (Taplin's report in Saint Louis Wee/^^ly Reveille, 30 April 1849, 
reprinted in hafen & hafen, 195-97). 

22. In a sentence he has marked through, as though he wished to delete it, 
McGehee records that Joaquin and Gregorio "had left the mess that they were in 
[the Kern-McGehee mess], for fear, as they said, that certain men in it would kill 
them to eat when it came to the worst" (mc gehee [1], 119). 

It could be that Vinsonhaler s remarks about breaking up the party so as to 
prevent them from living upon each other, if indeed he did make them, had 
instilled a general suspicion and fear in the Indian boys — aimed at no one in 
particular — but causing them to conclude that their greater safety lay with the 
man who had made them. After his rescue Benjamin Kern charged that "the 
stronger party [Vinsonhaler's] containing the hunters enticed away our two In- 
dian boys and deserted us" (B. Kern to Joe, 20 Feb. 1849, CSmH). And Edward 
Kern wrote to his sister: "The strongest and most experienced men went ahead, 
leaving the weaker ones to get along as they could" (E. M. Kern to Mary Kern 
Wolfe, 10 Feb. 1849, CSmH). Richard Kern had condemned Vinsonhaler's 
breaking up of the party as "a piece of rascality almost without parallel" (Diary, 
21 Jan. 1849, CSmH). 

BRANDON, 262-63, concludes that Vinsonhaler alleged "cannibalistic intent" 
against the Kern-McGehee party in order to justify to JCF his own callous and 
cowardly conduct in abandoning the weaker members of the party. Undoubt- 
edly Edward Kern had Vinsonhaler and his accusation in mind when he wrote 
to his sister about JCF's weaknesses, one of them being his propensity to believe 
"lies carried to him by others prejudicial to us. Another amiable weakness he 
has, that of believing the reports of the meanest in his camp" (E. M. Kern to 
Mary Kern Wolfe, Feb. 1849, CSmH). 

23. Micajah McGehee wrote that a member of his group had suggested to 
him, Taplin, and Stepperfeldt that they sustain life by eating the dead Andrews, 
but the proposition was rejected. Rohrer had joined them, but as he was dying, 


the suggestion must have been made by Cathcart or one of the Kern brothers 
(mc gehee [1], 123-24). 

24. This paragraph is obviously Benton's summary of a portion of the letter. 

25. The balance of the letter or letters, as printed in bigelow and upham, is 
quite different, although many of the same ideas are embodied in it and a few of 
the sentences are the same. The 1856 version reads: 

"As I told you, I shall break up my party here. I have engaged a Spaniard to 
furnish mules to take my little party with our baggage, as far down the Del 
Norte as Albuquerque. To-morrow a friend sets out to purchase me a few 
mules, with which he is to meet me at Albuquerque, and thence I continue the 
journey on my own animals. My road will take me down the Del Norte, about 
160 miles below Albuquerque and then passes between this river and the heads 
of the Gila, to a little Mexican town called, I think, Tusson [Tucson]. Then to 
the mouth of the Gila and across the Colorado, direct to Agua Caliente, into 
California. I intend to make the journey rapidly, and about the middle of 
March; hope for the great pleasure of hearing from home. I look for a large 
supply of newspapers and documents, more perhaps because these things have a 
home look about them than on their own account. When I think of you all, I feel 
a warm glow at my heart which renovates it like a good medicine, and I forget 
painful feelings in strong hope for the future. We shall yet, dearest wife, enjoy 
quiet and happiness together — these are nearly one and the same to me now. I 
make frequently pleasant pictures ot the happy home we are to have, and 
oftenest and among the pleasantest of all I see, our library with its bright fire m 
the rainy stormy days, and the large windows looking out upon the sea in the 
bright weather. I have it all planned in my own mind. It is getting late now. La 
Harpe says that there are two gods which are very dear to us, Hope and Sleep. 
My homage shall be equally divided between them: both make the time pass 
lightly until I see you. So I go now to pay a willing tribute to one with my heart 
full of the other." 

The Fremonts' correspondence with Charles Upham reveal that the original 
letter did contain Jean Fran^oise De La Harpe s dictum about the two gods of 
"Hope and Sleep," but that they were expressed in French. It is impossible to 
determine whether Benton's 1849 renderings of the letters or the 1856 printings 
are the most authentic. If the latter, then JCF's reference to the orders for agri- 
cultural implements was a Benton creation. On the other hand, when JCF re- 
turned galley proof to his biographer, he wrote: "But this portion, comprising 
my own original letter [the 1849 letter from New Mexico] and the Senatorial 
Chapter I had sound reasons for reading and correcting, & I hope nothing will 
prevent the corrections being made" (JCF to Charles Upham, New York, 24 
June 1856, Hugh Upham Clark Collection, Arlington, Va.). 

26. This seems to be a Benton editorial. 

27. Lieut. Col. John M. Washington (1797-1853) was also the military com- 
mander of New Mexico, and it was during his administration that a campaign 
against the Navajos was undertaken (cullum, 1:178; twitchell, 2:263, 266, 268). 


37. Andrew Cathcart to C. J. Colville 

Taos, New Mexico 
Feby. 10th 1849 
Dear Colville, 

After enduring frightful misery since the 16th Deer. I reached this 
today, one of the survivors of Fremont's ill-starred expedition. We lost 
all our animals (101 mules) in the deep snow and lofty mountains, 200 
miles N.W. of this — and after living for sometime on their carcases 
and no relief which we had sent for arriving, the last party, 22 in 
number,' left the camp on the "Rio del Norte" (which we had reached 
down to) on the 16th Jany., then starving, and moved down the river; 
ten of us perished by the 24th of the most horrible of all deaths — 
starvation. What agonies I endured and witnessed, but God's mercy 
carried me through, while stronger men died. I was determined not 
to give in till the last and thank God my mental energy never failed. I 
am a perfect skeleton, snowblind, frostbitten and hardly able to stand, 
but rest will recruit me, when I shall as soon as able return across the 
Prairies to the States and thence home. How happy I shall be to see 
you, my dear boy, again. You were often present to my mind, I assure 
you, during my miseries. I saved the Shakespeare you gave me and to 
the last carried my rifle and one blanket — conceive such a covering 
with the Therm, below Zero in many feet of snow, which we lived in 
for two months. God bless you, my dear fellow. Ever your attached 

A. Cathcart 

P.S. I will write details soon, this goes by any opportunity which offers 
tomorrow. My love to [erased]. What would they say to living on hide 
ropes and leather for weeks, and then no food for days. We all scat- 
tered when going down the river and some of the survivors fed on 
dead bodies of comrades. I saw some awful scenes. This is a disgrace- 
ful scrawl, I wanted to tell you I was still alive. 

ALS (National Register of Archives, Scotland). Addressed "to Captain C. j. 
Colville, St. James Street, London (By British Steamer)." The letter with minor 
changes was printed in the London Times, 3 May 1849. 

1. He apparently considers Manuel (as well as Proue) to be dead. 


38. Fremont to Thomas H. Benton 

Socorro, Rio Del Norte, February 24, 1849 
My Dear Sir: 

I write a line from this place in the hope that by way of Chihuahua 
and Vera Cruz, it will reach you sooner than letters by the direct mail 
from Santa Fe, and so be in advance of exaggerated reports of the 
events which have delayed my journey, and turned me in this direc- 
tion. Letters which I have forwarded by Mr. St. Vrain, will inform 
you that we were overtaken and surrounded by deep and impractica- 
ble snows in the Rocky Mountains at the head of the Del Norte. We 
lost all our animals and ten men, the mules frozen, and the men 
starved to death, Proue only excepted. He was frozen. The miscar- 
riage of an express party, sent in under Mr. King, was a secondary 
cause of our greatest calamity in the loss of our men. In six days after 
leaving my camp in the mountains, I overtook his party, they having 
been out twenty-two days, and King having been starved to death. In 
four days afterwards I reached the settlements, in time to save many, 
but too late to rescue all the men. Relief was immediately sent back, 
but did not meet them in time to save all. An attempt, made with 
fresh animals, to get our baggage out of the snow, failed entirely, re- 
sulting only in the loss often or twelve animals more.' On the main 
river bottoms at the foot of the mountains, the snow was five feet 
deep, and in the mountains impassable. Camp furniture of all descrip- 
tions, saddles, pack-saddles, &c., clothes, money, &c. all lost. I had the 
good fortune to recover one of my baggage trunks, which Jessie will 
remember to have packed for me, and so saved some clothes, &c. My 
instruments, which I always carry with me, were in greater part 

The officers of the army stationed in the country have been uni- 
formly prompt and liberal in their attentions to me, offering me all 
the assistance in their power. In this country, where supplies are scarce 
and extravagantly high, this assistance was of great value to me in 
prosecuting my journey. Among those whom I ought particularly to 
mention is Major Beale [Beall], who is in command of the North- 
ern District, Capt. [Henry B.] Judd, Lieut. [Francis John] Thomas, 
Dr. Webb," and Capt. [John] Buford. I mention their names particu- 
larly, knowing that you will take pleasure in reciprocating it to them. 


Colonel Washington desired me to call on him without reserve for 
anything at his command. He invited me to dine with him one out of 
the two days I spent at Santa Fe, and dined with me at the officers' 
quarters on the other. Major Weightman (of Washington, son-in- 
law of Mr. Cox) was very friendly in his attentions to me/ and 
Capt. [Thomas Lee] Brent, of the quartermasters deputy [depart- 
ment] gave me some most effective aid in my equipment. Among the 
citizens who have treated me with some attention, I make it a duty to 
recommend to your attention, when you may meet him, our fellow- 
citizen of St. Louis, Mr. E X. Aubry. You will remember him as hav- 
ing lately made an extraordinary ride from Santa Fe to Indepen- 
dence.^ We have been travelling together from Santa Fe to this place. 
Among other acts of kindness, I received from him a loan of $1000, to 
purchase animals for my journey to Calfornia. 

I reached this town at half-past eight o'clock this morning, by ap- 
pointment to breakfast. Capt. Buford, who commands here, received 
me with much kindness, and I am staying with him. This is a mili- 
tary post, and with the exception of a little village or two, a few miles 
below, the last settlement we see until reaching Tusson, even should 
we pass by that route. We go on this afternoon, and perhaps reach 
California in twenty-five days. The weather here is warm, and the 
people engaged in opening the ground for sowing. I will write a brief 
note to Jessie, and conclude this, as I shall be much pressed to get 
through the business set apart for this day. Very affectionately, 

J. C. Fremont 
Hon. Thomas H. Benton, 
Washington City 

Printed in bigelow, 376-78, and upham, 296-99. 

1. This was the effort of Godey, mentioned in JCF's letter to JBF, 27 Jan.- 
17 Feb. 1849 under 6 and 11 Feb. dates. 

2. Probably the New Englander James Josiah Webb (1818-89), who had 
started his career as a trader but was now a prominent Santa Fe merchant with a 
permanent establishment there. See webb. 

3. After serving in the Mexican War, Richard H. Weightman (1816-61) be- 
came New Mexico Territory's first delegate to Congress and editor of the Amigo 
del Pais newspaper of Albuquerque, (biog. dir. cong). 

4. In referring to Aubry 's Sept. 1848 ride in five days and sixteen hours, JCF 
no doubt had in mind his own accomplishment of the previous year, namely a 
ride of 400 miles from Los Angeles to Monterey in three days and ten hours. 


39. Diary of Richard H. Kern 
John S. Stepperfield — Fremont's Disaster in 

the Mountains 

Mr. Stepperfield, who was one of Fremont's men, and who suf- 
fered with others of the company, in the attempt to cross the moun- 
tains of New Mexico, last winter, returned to his home in this city on 
Tuesday last. From a conversation with Mr. S. we are led to believe, 
that the sufferings of the party were not fully detailed (even if known) 
by Colonel Fremont; and as the public will probably never have any 
authentic account of the disaster from his pen, it rests with the men 
who composed the party, and who shared the suffering, to give the 
details as events transpired from day to day. A daily Journal of the 
transactions was kept by some of the men, which may be of some 
interest to the public. Mr. S. has left a transcript of the Journal with us 
to make such disposal of it as we deem best. We find it very interest- 
ing, and believing our readers will also find it so, we give it a place in 
our paper, with the remark that further accounts of the expedition 
may be furnished by Mr. S. for publication. 

It will be seen that Col. Fremont is much censured in these pages, 
and with considerable justice, if the testimony of the men of his 
party is to be relied on. The journal appears to have been kept by 
Richard H. Kern: 

Struck the river Dec. 8. Course West and South-west. Snowed all 
day. Camped on the river; plenty of timber and snow. 

Dec. 9. Moved in the valley of the river, on its eastern bank. En- 
tered a small canon of the river, but on account of the deep snow,' 
were forced to turn back and pass over the top of the hill;' crossed the 
river and camped. The deep snow of today should have warned Col. Fre- 
mont of his approaching destruction, but with the wilfully blind eyes of 
rashness and self-conceit and confidence he pushed on. Course N. and W 
Elk sign abundant. 

Dec. 10. Lay in camp until 12 o'clock, then moved three miles fur- 
ther up the river and camped in fine grove of Cotton-wood. Course 
W. by N. 

Dec. 11. Trail today very hilly and difficult, the hills being steep 
and rugged. Day clear and windy. Made 12 miles and camped in deep 
snow on the river. Course same as yesterday. 

Dec. 12. Passed through a little valley that lay to the right of the 


camp, and had some very difficult canons to contend with — the sides 
in many places almost perpendicular. Camped on the sloping side of 
the canon. Made from 5 to 7 miles, course nearly North. 

Dec. 13. Had very difficult hill to climb at start; road better after. 
Passed through large Pine forests and camped in beautiful valley, with 
another running from it to the right. Made about 7 miles; course N. 

Dec. 14. Road over pine hills and through deep snow valleys. Passed 
over a high bald mountain, from the summit of which, one of the 
finest mountain views in the world can be seen.^ Camped in a deep 
pine forest near the head of a fine litde valley;^ some little grass; 
course north. Made about 5 miles. 

Dec. 15. Very bad hill at start; afterwards the trail passed over the 
summit of hills. Snowed all day; camped on a hill side. Made about 3 
miles; course east.^ 

Dec. 16. Made start to pass what was supposed to be dividing ridge 
between the waters of Rio del Norte and those of Grand river.*' Passed 
dead mules, and riding and pack saddles lying beside the trail. After 
hard work, reached hill summit, but the wind and poudre were so 
dreadful we had to return. Eleven more men were frostbitten in vari- 
ous places, the cold being so intense. Returned to our old campfires 
amid a furious storm of wind and snow, which continued all day and 

Dec. 17. A party of men went ahead to beat a trail, whilst those 
remaining in camp were to bring the animals up. After hard labor 
reached the top of the hill, and saw the trail winding up the opposite 
hills, on whose summit some grass could be seen; the trail passed 
through snow from 3 to 15 feet deep. We unpacked the mules on a 
little point, after which some were driven to the hill top and those that 
were too weak, left to perish.^ This was the last time we packed them. 
Every animal should have been butchered, and we would have plenty in 
camp.* Camped in small pine grove in which we remained until the 
24th, when we moved southwest'' about 3 miles, to a fine large pine 
forest. The snow 6 feet deep. Meanwhile, camp was employed portag- 
ing the baggage from the last to Christmas camp. 

On the 26th, Henry King, W. S. Williams, E [T] Breckenridge and 
Creutzfeldt, were sent to the settlements to bring us relief. 

Remained in Christmas camp until the 28th, when we moved three 
miles further towards the [Rio Grande] river, and the two Messes fof] 
Toplins [Taplin's] and Kerns camped in small valley whilst the rest 
remained on the hillside. 


Dec. 31. Moved on about three miles nearer the river.'" 

Jan 1. Reached, with the Colonels packs, what was called the 
Quaking-asp camp, about 3 miles beyond the last." 

Jan 2. Moved the Col. to the Rio del Norte, about 7 miles, and East 
of where we left the river Dec. 12th y- Continued portaging the packs 
to the Colonel's camp of Jan. 1st — and to some Cotton- woods a mile 
beyond,'^ until Jan 11, when we were ordered to come and camp on 
the river — the Colonel, with Mr. Preuss, Godey, and nephew, and 
Jackson, having left early same day, to meet and hasten Mr. Kings 

Raphael Proulx died on the 9th; death caused by Fremont's harsh 

[The following letter was left by Col. Fremont as directions for the 
party — Vincenthaler in command:] 

"L. D. Vinsonhaler. I am now going to start for Abaca [Abiquiu]. I 
want all the men to bring their baggage down, and put it in the lodge. 
If no relief comes then, let them take their guns and blankets, and 
follow the river down to Rabbit Creek [Conejos River], and if no re- 
lief at Rabbit creek, then come to Abaca, and come quick, or you will 
not find me there, as I shall have left for California."'- 

Jan. 16. All camp moved down river about two miles. Manuel 
turned back. 

Jan. 17. Moved about 8 miles. Wise died today. 

Jan 18. Moved about a mile and half and remained in camp, whilst 
the hunters went to look for game. 

Jan. 19. Made camp near where we first camped on the river; a 
deer was killed by Hibbard, and ten men received as their share the 
two fore shoulder blades, and eleven men all the rest, including blood, 
hide and entrails. Vinsonhaler intended to have kept the deer from 
the rest of us, pack it among his party and press on to the settlements. 
Scott refused to agree, and so we got our small portion. 

Jan. 20. Moved 3 miles further down the river. 

Jan. 21. Made about 15 miles. All the strong men together and 

This camp was made with the hope that some of us would be left 
on the trail. Lord [Sorrel] and Moran did not come up and when 
Vinsonhaler (commonly called Hayler), was informed of it he ob- 
served, that if two of us had not fallen into the river (alluding to Scott 
and himself) there would have been more of you left."' This day he 


gave up all command and declared the party dissolved, and that we 
should divide in parties of two and three to hunt small game. 

Jan. 22. Vinsonhaler, Hibbard, Ducatel, Martin, Scott, Beadle [Ba- 
con] and the two Indians Gregorio and Joachim all strong men, 
started ahead accompanied by Ferguson and Beadle, determined to 
leave us — Taplin, Rohrer, Stepperfield, Andrews, McGehee, Capt. 
Cathcart, Dr. Kern, Edward M. Kern, and R. H. Kern, to get along 
as we could, or perish. We weak ones made four miles. (Rohrer and 
Andrews did not come up). 

Lay in this camp until the 28th, when Godey came with relief. 

Feb. 9. Reached Rio Colorado. Reached Taos on the 10th. Colonel 
left on the 13th. 

Raphael Proulx died Jan. 9th, 1849; Henry Wise, Jan 17; Henry 
King, Jan. — : Vincent Sorrel, probably Jan. 22; Joseph Moran, be- 
tween Jan 22nd and 28th; Carver, probably Jan. 22; E. T. 

Andrews, U.S.N., probably Jan. 22; Henry Rohrer, probably Jan 22; 
Benjamin Beadle Jan. 26, George Hibbard, Jan. 27. 

The above dates are copied from my Journal, and are believed to be 
correct. Under the circumstances, of course, in some instances, defi- 
nite information could not be obtained. 

Upon Col. Fremont's arrival at Taos, Major Beall, commanding that 
post, ordered the Commissary to issue to the Colonel thirty days full ra- 
tions, for the twenty -five men then in the mountains, and expected in. 
These rations were never twned over to the men, and were probably tal^en 
on to California by Fremont. The men were obliged to buy their own 
provisions from the people of the country, who came to their relief'^ 

Richard H. Kern 
Rio Honda, March 19, 1849. 

Printed in Quincy (111.) Whig, 22 May 1849. Note that the newspaper editor 
refers to the bearer of Richard Kern's journal as John S. Stepperfield, the an- 
glicized version of Stepperfeldt. He was probably a kinsman of the Joseph Step- 
perfeldt (often known as Joseph Stepp) who had served JCF s third expedition as 
a hunter and gunsmith and who had returned to St. Louis in 1847 with the 
Beale-Carson-Talbot party. 

As published in the Whig, the journal is a shortened version of the diary that 
Richard H. Kern began on 20 Oct. 1848 on Boone Creek near Westport. The 
diary is owned by the Henry E. Huntington Library and is published in hafen 
& HAFEN, 109-34. Important statements, largely strictures on JCF, not appearing 
in the original are italicized here. 

Richard Kern wrote Cathcart that Stepperfeldt had had a terrible time get- 
ting home. He "had started off alone [from New Mexico] and was picked up on 


the prairie perfectly crazy; he however got in safe and pubUshed Fremont" 
(Santa Fe, 30 Sept. 1849, CSmH). From Taos Edward Kern had already written 
his sister that JCF, for all his dislike of them, would have had them continue on 
to California with him, "for he did not wish a man of his party with any influ- 
ence to remain here. The greatest dread he has at present is that a true and cor- 
rect account of the proceedings above and here may be made public" (E. M. 
Kern to Mary Wolfe Kern, Feb. 1849, CSmH). 

1. The expedition struck the canyon of Rio de Carnero, approximately twelve 
miles north of the main branch of the Rio Grande del Norte. The steep cliffs of 
Hell's Gate as well as the deep snow made it impossible for them to continue 
along the Carnero. 

2. RICHMOND maintains that after crossing the pine-forested hills, the men 
should have returned to the South Fork of Carnero Creek and followed it, which 
would have led them ultimately into Cochetopa Park. Instead they became 
mired in a series of canyons, whose walls in places were almost perpendicular. 
RICHMOND notes that a sketch of rock outcropping in Richard Kern's diary 
(CSmH) resembles the one that juts from the stone walls of Cave Creek. 

3. RICHMOND identifies the "high bald mountain" as twin-peaked Boot Moun- 
tain with an elevation of 12,400 feet. It was not the dividing ridge as they had 
hoped, but looking back from the summit the men had a spectacular view of the 
Sangre de Cristo Range and the sand hills, framed by Medano and Mosca passes. 

4. Camp was near the head of La Garita Creek (richmond). 

5. They had moved up the steep sides of the valley into the tableland at the 
head of Perry's Creek. Camp was made at the head of West Benino Creek, a 
quarter of a mile below the summit of Mesa Mountain, which they would at- 
tempt to cross the next day (richmond). At the head of East Benino Creek where 
the trail left the ridge, Richmond found a small stone shelter built against a vol- 
canic outcropping. The year 1848 was inscribed upon the smooth surface of the 
great rock. 

6. Mesa Mountain did not separate the waters of the Rio Grande and the 
Colorado, but did divide the tributaries of the Saguache from those of La Garita 

7. In moving over the bowl-shaped summit of the ridge. El Bole de Hilda, 
the expedition had crossed to the headwaters of Wannamaker Creek, a tributary 
of the Saguache within the Rio Grande watershed. 

8. Some of the mules were butchered. On 18 Dec. the men began eating 
mule meat on a regular basis; JCF's animal was eaten on Christmas Day and 
Benjamin Kern's on 29 Dec. Later Godey defended JCF against Kern's charge, 
maintaining that at the time (17 Dec.) there were sufficient provisions for eigh- 
teen or twenty days and that the loss of King's relief party was the cause of ex- 
treme destitution (Godey to John O. Wheeler, 12 Sept. 1856, printed in New 
York Evening Post, 30 Oct. 1856, and republished in hafen & hafen, 263-75. By 
1 1 Jan. the men were boiling parfleches and rawhide tug ropes for breakfast. 

9. The original diary does not give the direction, but they moved southeast — 
not southwest — across the mountains to the protection of the trees on the west 
slope of Rincones Creek. It took the men several days to drag the baggage three 
and a half miles into the new camp, which became known as Christmas Camp 
or Camp Hope. 

10. The men had started out 28 Dec. along the same route used by the rescue 
party, that is, to follow Rincones Creek down to its juncture with Embargo 
Creek. But the canyon was too steep; they fell down often, sliding with the bag- 


gage twenty or fifty feet at a time. Since it was impossible to continue with their 
bundles, they retraced their steps up the hard road and during the next few days 
made a new trail across the ridge, going into camp on East Embargo Creek 
(Diary of Benjamin Kern, CSmH). One writer estimates that the twenty-nine 
men and a boy had to carry three hundred man loads — the equivalent of the 
loads left by eighty mules (brandon, 234). 

11. The expedition began to splinter into camps, with JCF's being the most 
forward. From the east ridge and terraces of Mesa Mountain in mid-December, 
he had spotted the gently sloping open expanses of Groundhog Park. He estab- 
lished a temporary mess in an isolated aspen grove at the head of Groundhog 
Creek (richmond). 

12. On 2 Jan. JCF moved his camp to the valley floor following the drainage 
of the Rio de La Garita, which had less snow (richmond). The men toiled in 
relays to move the baggage. Their camps and fireholes came to be strung out for 
a distance often miles. On 3 Jan. the Kerns burned some of their books and the 
least valuable of their property. They moved to JCF's vacated Groundhog Creek 
camp and erected a shanty; a storm soon tore it down, but they gathered saplings 
and started another. 

13. A cache was being prepared, although it seems to have been beyond these 
particular cottonwoods. Richmond puts it at a large rock outcropping on the La 
Garita. Its visibility from the floor of the San Luis Valley would assist in retriev- 
ing the baggage. 

14. In the original, under the 9 Jan. entry, Richard Kern notes that Vinson- 
haler, on his way to JCF's camp on the river, had met Proue, "his legs frozen," 
and had helped him as much as possible, wrapping his blankets around him. 

15. In 1856, denying that JCF ever intimated that he would start for Califor- 
nia, Godey wrote, "On the contrary, it was understood that no attempt would be 
made either to renew our present, or enter upon any new expedition before the 
next season, as Fremont supposed that he would have to revisit the States for the 
purpose of procuring scientific instruments; and not until the entire party had 
got back to Taos, was a word said by Colonel Fremont, or any one else, of an 
expedition to California" (Godey to John O. Wheeler, 12 Sept. 1856, printed in 
New York Evening Post, 30 Oct. 1856, and republished in hafen & hafen, 
263-75). Any idea of returning to the States that JCF might have had while in 
the mountains was relinquished immediately on reaching Taos. The second 
paragraph of his 27 Jan. letter to JBF makes clear that his destination is Califor- 
nia. In extracting the letters for the newspapers, Benton was also anxious to em- 
phasize that the survey was uninterrupted. 

16. The meaning of the latter part of this sentence is not clear to the editor. 

17. For a discussion of this charge, see Doc. No. 36, n. 13. 


San Juan Mountains, 1848. From the "Prospectus" 

for Fremont's Memoirs. Courtesy of the 

Henry E. Huntington Library. 



Hardscrabble Canyon, 1848. Watercolor by Richard H. Kern, 

who erroneously identifies it as "Robidoux's Pass." 

Courtesy Amon Carter Museum, Fort Worth. 




Jacob A. Dallas' sketch of Fremont's Christmas Camp in the San Juans, 

1848. From a print in John Bigelow's Memoir of the Life and 

Public Services of John Charles Fremont (New York, 1856). 








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Politics and Economics 

40. Fremont to Benjamin D. Wilson 

Tulare Lake, June 1, 1849 
My dear Sir, 

This note will be handed to you by Mr. Alexander Godey, whom I 
have sent to your neighborhood to purchase cattle, the kind which I 
require being to be had on much better terms then about Monterey. 
He may probably make use of all the funds he carries in the purchase 
of cattle, in which I have directed him to apply to you for supplies or 
any other assistance he may need. I will therefore be much obliged to 
you to furnish him on my account with all he may require. 

I refer you to him for particulars of our journey ' and future inten- 
tions as the mosquitoes torment me here so much that I absolutely 
cannot write. You have passed here yourself and know them by 

Should there be any thing of interest I will write to you from Mon- 
terey to which place I am now on my way. Very truly yours, 

J. C. Fremont 
Capt. B. Wilson 
Lx)s Angeles 

ALS (CSmH — Benjamin David Wilson Papers). JCF had not yet made con- 
tact with his wife, who had crossed the Isthmus of Panama and at this very time 
was off the CaUfornia coast in the Panama, which would steam through the 
Golden Gate on 4 June. According to phillips, 140-42, JCF was ten days late in 
meeting her. 

1. Presumably the journey from Los Angeles to Las Mariposas — not that of 
the expedition from Westport to California. 


41. John M. Clayton to Fremont 

Department of State 
Washington, 26th. June 1849 


The President having thought proper to appoint you the Commis- 
sioner on the part of the United States for running and marking the 
Boundary Hne under the Fifth Article of the Treaty of Guadalupe 
Hidalgo, I transmit your Commission in that character. You will also 
receive herewith a copy of the several instructions which this Depart- 
ment had addressed to your predecessor.' It is not considered that you 
will need any further instructions at this time. I would, however, in- 
vite your special attention to the necessity of the regular transmission 
of your accounts and vouchers for settlement at the Treasury Depart- 
ment as those instructions require. Any drafts also, which you may 
have occasion to draw on account of the expenses of the Commission, 
must be addressed to the Secretary of State and not to the Secretary of 
the Treasury. You will also forward to this Department a full list of 
the persons (other than military or naval) in the Service of the Com- 
mission, on our part, with the rates of compensation allowed to each, 
and will apprize the Department of any changes therein which may 
from time to time take place. 

Your compensation as well as that of your predecessor will be set- 
ded by Congress at this next session. I am Sir &c., 

John M. Clayton 

Lbk (DNA-59, Domestic Letters, 37:239-40). Addressed to Fremont at San 

1. Not printed is the copy of Clayton's letter to Ohioan John B. Weller 
(1812-75), JCF's predecessor. The Secretary of State expressed his displeasure 
that Weller had not furnished a list of persons he had employed or an account of 
his first quarter's expenses. He noted that the president had thought "proper to 
appoint" JCF to mark the boundary, and instructed that all papers and public 
property be transferred to his custody. Clayton to JCF, 28 June 1849, indicates 
that it would really be JCF's decision as to when Weller should leave office. This 
unusual method of attempted dismissal plus the removal of other Polk appoin- 
tees caused considerable debate in and out of the Senate (see the Bradbury 
Resolutions, Congressional Globe, 31st Cong., 1st sess., 15 Jan., 21-23 March, 
23 April, 8 May, 12 and 18 Dec. 1850, and 31st Cong., 2nd sess., Appendix, 7 Jan. 
1851; Snyder to Fremont, 11 Dec. 1849). As successive documents show, JCF 
never took up his duties, and it was not until 19 Dec. 1849 that a letter was 
written removing Weller. Weller subsequently started a legal practice in San 


Francisco, was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1852, and won the California guber- 
natorial election in 1857 (dab). 

42. Excerpt from a letter of Fremont to 
Thomas H. Benton 

Monterey, June 27, 1849 

I shall be anxious to receive the least information relative to your 
plan for the railroad — what the prospects are for its adoption, and 
towards what point of this country it will probably be directed. In 
conversation with Mr. Butler King and Gen. Persifor Smith, a few 
days since, this road was a subject of great interest.' I mentioned that 
the line explored in my last journey was admirably calculated for the 
road, passing the mountains between the Arkansas and the Del 
Norte, with scarcely an inequality of profile, and which knowledge 
obtained since our disaster showed would have been the character of 
its extension further west to the Great Basin. A reference to the map 
will show you that this line crosses the valley of the Del Norte at the 
northern edge of the New Mexican settlements (a handsome and fer- 
tile country), whence a branch road might be thrown down the valley 
of the river and through the settlements to Santa Fe, &c. This road 
would enter the basin at the southern end of the Mormon settlements, 
and cross by way of Humboldt river. About midway of that rivers 
course a large valley opens into it, and up this an excellent way to a 
low pass near the head of the lower Sacramento valley. Before reach- 
ing this pass, a way, diverging to the north, affords a very practica- 
ble valley road into Oregon, and, in my opinion, far the best by 
which you can reach that country. Immediately after this conversa- 
tion, Gen. Smith determined upon sending a party to explore that 
part of the route which I have last described, with a view to report 
upon it at the ensuing session of Congress. He afterward called upon 
me to request that I would send him a written communication to the 
same effect, in order that hereafter credit of the suggestion might re- 
main with me. It is not pleasant to see the work pass into other hands, 
but private means are inadequate to such undertakings here. 

Printed in St. Louis Daily Reveille, 17 Oct. 1849, as a part of the speech de- 
livered on 16 Oct. 1849 by Senator Benton to the St. Louis Pacific Railway 


1. Thomas Butler King (1800-1864) was a Whig congressman from Georgia 
when President Taylor sent him to California, ostensibly to acquire information 
about the country but in reality to work for the admission of California as a tree, 
and Whig, state. He arrived in California on 4 June and within a short time 
made arrangements to go with the commander of the Pacific Division, Per- 
sifor F. Smith (1798-1858), "to the interior of the country, for the purpose of 
examining the gold region, and other interesting and important portions of it." 
A few months later King made an unsuccessful bid to be one of California's first 
U.S. senators; in Oct. 1850 President Fillmore appointed him collector of the 
Port of San Francisco. For a biography of King, see steel. 

43. John M. Clayton to Fremont 

Department of State 
Washington, 28th June 1849 

In a letter from this Department under the 26th Instant, you were 
informed of your appointment as Commissioner of the United States 
under the 5th Article of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. With that 
letter one addressed to your predecessor was also transmitted which, 
however, it is deemed advisable you should not deliver or forward to 
him until you are about to enter upon the duties of the office. The 
letter for him which is herewith transmitted, you will consider as ad- 
dressed to yourself when you shall have communicated to him that 
above referred to.' I am Sir &c., 

John M. Clayton 


John M. Clayton to John B. Weller 

Department of State 
Washington, 28th June 1849 

Your letter from Panama of the 15th. Ultimo with the accompany- 
ing lists of persons in the service of the Commission was received at 
this Department of yesterday the 27th Instant. 

The difficulties which you anticipate in regard to running and 
marking the boundary line from the Pacific toward the Rio Grande 


may be realized, but without actual experience of them it would be 
premature even to take into consideration your suggestion as to re- 
versing that course and beginning the demarcation at the eastern end 
of the line. Inasmuch, however, as the starting point for tracing the 
boundary as well as the proceedings of the joint commission with ref- 
erence thereto are prescribed by the Treaty it would seem that the 
Executive of neither government has any discretion in regard to them, 
or any more right to change them than they would have to change the 
direction of the line itself. If it should be found to be impracticable to 
execute the duties of the Commission as the Treaty contemplates and 
enjoins, a supplementary article will be necessary to impart validity to 
any deviations therefrom. 

It may, as you suggest, be advisable, occasionally to make presents 
to the Indians who may be met with along the route of the Commis- 
sion. Careful discrimination however will be necessary in selecting ar- 
ticles for this purpose. They should be acceptable to the Indians but 
not such as would enable them to injure the Commission in case their 
permanent good will should not be secured. The cost of the presents 
also should be moderate and our share thereof should have just pro- 
portion to the fund appropriated by Congress for the expenses of the 
commission. Upon this subject, however, you had better consult and 
make some arrangements with the Mexican Commissioners. If pres- 
ents should be indispensable they would be for the common benefit of 
both parties and both should equally share the expense. I am Sir, &c., 

John M. Clayton 

Lbk (DNA-59, Domestic Letters, 37:241-43). 

1. See Doc. No. 41, n. 1, for a summary of Clayton to Weller, 26 June 1849. 

44. Fremont to John M. Clayton 

Pueblo of San Jose, August 1849 
To THE Hon. J. M. Clayton, 
Secy, of State 

I have had the honor to receive, by the hands of Mr. Beale,' U.S. 
Navy, your letter conferring upon me the post of Commissioner of the 


United States for the determination of our boundary line with 

I feel much gratification in accepting the appointment and beg to 
offer through you to the President my acknowledgments for the 
mark of confidence bestowed upon me and which he may be assured 
is fully appreciated. 

Col. Weller is now at San Francisco, having just arrived from the 
South. His reports of the actual state of the Survey will probably sug- 
gest instructions for me. I will see him within a few days, and having 
made myself acquainted with the condition of the work shall be able 
to communicate understandingly with the Department. I have the 
honor to be with much respect your obedient servant, 

J. C. Fremont 

LS (DNA-76, Records Re International Boundaries. Records Re U.S. — Mexi- 
can Border, Entry 405 — Applications, Recommendations, Acceptances, Resig- 
nation). Body of letter in hand of JCF. Endorsed: "Reed. & filed Oct. 16. 1849." 

1. A good friend of JCF's and identified in Vol. 2, Beale had just married 
Mary Edwards of Chester, Pa., when he received orders to carry government 
dispatches to the West Coast. He took his wife with him as far as Havana and on 
22 Aug. arrived with Bayard Taylor in California in the Panama {Alta California, 
Supplemental, 23 Aug. 1849; taylor, 1:54). 

45. John B. Weller to Fremont 

Monterey, California, September 27, 1849 

Dear Sir: 

Having failed in obtaining funds from General Riley,' I have been 
compelled to send an express to San Francisco, with a view to negoti- 
ate the drafts herewith inclosed. Justice to the employees of the com- 
mission, as well as the interests of the Government, demand that 
funds to the amount of $10,000 should be raised, if possible, before 
you go to San Diego. Very little has been paid to them since the 1st of 
April, and as some of them will doubtless desire to leave, it is neces- 
sary they should be paid. Besides, there are some debts contracted for 
supplies, house-rent, &c., which should for the honor of the Govern- 
ment, be paid at once. As the public understand that I am superseded, 
your explanation will be necessary in obtaining funds. 


I send four bank drafts, supposing they might be more conve- 
niendy negotiated at different houses. If any are used as duplicates, 
please see that they are so marked. As a deposit of a portion of the 
money in that place will, perhaps, answer the purpose. Whatever sum 
IS obtained in money should be placed on the "Oregon," unless you 
will take personal charge of it. 

If any draft is sold below par, be good enough to take receipts in 
my name. I send my mstructions of the 24th January last, from which 
I derive authority to draw the appropriation specified. 

Mr. Plume,- of the firm of Burgoyne & Co., is charged with the 
execution of some orders for me, and will, I have no doubt, aid in 
raising funds. 

As I regard this business of the utmost importance to the Govern- 
ment, as well as myself, I must beg your attendance to it as soon as 
practicable. Very respectfully, your obedient servant, 

John B. Weller 
United States Commissioner 

Printed in Congressional Globe, 32nd Cong., 1st sess., Appendix, 6 July 1852, 

p. 798. 

1. Bennet Riley (1787-1853) had relieved Richard B. Mason as military gov- 
ernor of California on 12 April 1849 and had convened the constitutional con- 
vention that was meeting at Monterey when Weller penned this letter (dab and 


2. John V. Plume and his partner, W. M. Burgoyne, had established them- 
selves as bankers and commission merchants in San Francisco on 5 June 1849 
(cross, 1:51). 

46. Fremont to John B. Weller 

San Francisco, October 31, 1849 

Dear Sir: 

After a long delay in endeavoring to sell your drafts on favorable 
terms, I have this day found myself obliged to sell them at 10 per cent, 
discount. No better terms could be obtained, and the necessity which 
exists for your payments to be made did not appear to admit further 
delay. I have sent to you (through Messrs. Burgoyne & Co.) by the 
steamer California, which sails tomorrow, $5,000 in specie, and have 


deposited to your order at the same house, the other $4,000 in specie. 
Of this about $50 will be required for the freight, and $300 more will 
be required to pay your carpenter, whom you directed to call upon 
me. The remainder will be subject to your order. 

Hoping that this will arrive in time to meet the necessities of your 
people, I am, very truly yours, 

J. C. Fremont 

Printed in Congressional Globe, 32nd Cong., 1st sess.. Appendix, 6 July 1852, 
p. 799. Weller indicated that the letter was received on 3 or 4 Nov. and that it 
and his 27 Sept. letter to JCF constituted the entire correspondence between 
them. He stated that as early as 20 Aug., he had heard rumors that JCF was 
holding letters superseding him as commissioner, that he had actually seen JCF 
in Monterey on several occasions, and that the explorer had introduced the sub- 
ject but declined to deliver the letters. Weller reported that m the last days ot 
November he went to San Francisco to seek his discharge from JCF. "There I 
learned that he had accepted the commission, subsequently resigned, and de- 
clined relieving me, by returning the letter to the Department." Fremont thus 
never delivered Claytons order of 26 June 1849. See Weller s speech in the Sen- 
ate, ibid., 797-802. 

47. Fremont to Benjamin D. Wilson 

Monterey, Novr. 15th. 1849 
My dear Sir, 

This note will be handed to you by my brother-in-law Mr. Jones ' 
about whom we have already had some conversation. Business of the 
government brings him to Los Angeles and I will be obliged to you 
for any facilities or kindness you can afford him. He has also charged 
himself with some business of mine" in which he may need your 
counsel and for which I will be much indebted to you. I have put into 
the hands of Mr. Packhard ^ of your city one hundred and sixty-six 
dollars in payment of a bill which Godey made with you. I under- 
stand that your town lots are to be sold in December. Please purchase 
one for me exercising your judgment as to the locality. I will write to 
you again soon and in the meantime remain Yours truly, 

J. C. Fremont 
Capt. B. Wilson 



1. On 12 July 1849 President Taylor had appointed William Carey Jones to 
procure information on Mexican land titles in California. He arrived on 19 Sept., 
visited Monterey, San Jose, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and San Diego, spent 
eighteen days in Mexico City, and was back in Washington on 1 Feb. where he 
soon afterward submitted his report. 

2. The specific nature of JCF's business is not known, but a reasonable as- 
sumption is that it related to the acquisition of land — a subject of extreme inter- 
est to both of Benton's sons-in-law. In fact, while Jones was conducting his inves- 
tigation of land titles, he purchased the twelve-league San Luis Rey and Pala 
Mission rancho in San Diego. Although confirmed by both the Board of Land 
Commissioners and the district judge, it was rejected by the Supreme Court in 
1863, some seven years after the final confirmation of JCF's Las Mariposas title. 
For a revealing letter and article on the Fremont-Jones scramble for California 
land, see Jones to Wilson, San Diego, 7 Dec. 1849 (CSmH), and gates [IJ. 

3. Albert Packard and Wilson were partners in a store in Los Angeles 

48. Fremont to John M. Clayton 

Monterey, November 15th, 1849 
To THE Hon. J. M. Clayton 
Secretary of State 

Having become a candidate for the Senate of the United States, it 
has become necessary that I should tender to the President, as I 
hereby do, a resignation of the office of Commissioner of the Bound- 
ary Survey, which I recently had the honor to receive. 

Col. Weller is now at San Diego, to which place he returned after a 
conversation with me, for the purpose of discharging his liabilities to 
his party. So far as I have been able to understand, the outstanding 
liabilities necessary to be now discharged will exhaust the appropria- 
tion and leave nothing for carrying on the work. If this be the case it 
may be difficult to avoid an interruption of the work and will render 
the duties of the Commissioners embarrassing. 

I had judged it proper to relieve Mr. Weller at San Diego and for 
that reason delayed delivering him your letter. It accordingly re- 
mained undelivered leaving him still in the exercise of the duties of 

It suggests itself to me that until the Department have the time to 


make its arrangements, it will best subserve the public interest to leave 
affairs in their present situation and withhold the letter, which I shall 
accordingly do. With much respect, I am Sir, your obedient servant, 

J. C. Fremont 
LS (DNA-76, Entry 405). 

49. Jacob R. Snyder to Fremont 

San Francisco, Dec. Uth, 1849 
Dear Sir: 

Your name has been long before the people of California as a can- 
didate for the U.S. Senate. As an old resident of California, and a 
personal friend of long standing, I feel the deepest interest in your 
election, and take the liberty of asking of you information on certain 
points which I discover to be much agitated by some who are not 
your friends. Are you a believer in the distinctive tenets of the demo- 
cratic party? What are your views in relation to an overland commu- 
nication by railroad or otherwise, from the Pacific to the Atlantic and 
through the territory of the United States? What is the true history 
and real nature of your title to a certain tract of land which you are 
said to claim on the Mariposa River? What have you done, and what 
do you propose to do, to establish that claim? 

What has been your course in reference to a commission which you 
are said to have received to run the boundary line called for by the late 
treaty with Mexico? Was that appointment solicited by yourself or 
your friends, and have you accepted it? and if not, how long did you 
hold it under consideration? 

What was the real nature of the transaction with D. Eulogio de 
Celis, concerning which, certain publications were sometime since 
made in the newspapers of this place and of some of the Eastern 
States? On all of these matters I would respectfully submit that as full 
an answer as this short notice will allow, is due to your friends and 
supporters, and that in regard to your political principles, a declara- 
tion would come from you with peculiar fitness, seeing that your oc- 
cupations, honorable as they have been, and serviceable to your coun- 
try, have not been of a character to call for an expression of your 


opinions on matters of government, and that your friends, though 
well persuaded themselves of your soundness, are yet daily met with 
the question, "how do you know that Mr. Fremont is a democrat, and 
how long has he been one?" Yours, &c.. 

Jacob R, Snyder 

John C. Fremont, Esq. 

Printed in Alta California, 15 Dec. 1849. 

50. Fremont to Jacob R. Snyder 

San Francisco, Dec. 11th, 1849 
My Dear Sir: 

I have the pleasure to acknowledge the receipt of your letter to-day, 
and to make you my kind thanks for the gratification I find in being 
called to make some reply to the vague accusations in circulation 
against me. 

I presume that it will be a sufficient answer to your first question, 
simply to state, that by association, feeling, principle and education, I 
am thoroughly a democrat; and with out entering into any discussion 
of the question at issue between the two great parties, I have only 
further to say, that I adhere to the great principles of the democratic 
party as they are understood on this and the other side of the continent. 

I am strongly in favor of a central, national railroad from the Mis- 
sissippi River to the Pacific Ocean. Recent events have converted the 
vague desire for that work into an organized movement throughout 
the great body of our fellow citizens in the United States, and in com- 
mon with them, I am warmly in favor of its immediate location and 
speediest possible construction. Its stupendous magnitude — the im- 
mense benefit which it will confer upon our whole country — the 
changes which it will operate throughout the Pacific Ocean and east- 
ern Asia — commingling together the European, American, and Asi- 
atic races — spreading indefinitely religious, social and political im- 
provement — characterize it as the greatest enterprise of the age, and a 
great question proposed for the solution of the American people. 
There never has been presented an enterprise so calculated to draw 
together in its support all classes of society; and the perpetual and 


always increasing benefits which it will confer upon the human race 
in addition to the weighty national considerations, military, political, 
and commerical, which more immediately concerns us, call upon us 
for immediate and efficient action. Ardendy in favor of the work, it 
follows of course that I am entirely satisfied of its practicability, and 
believe fully in its ultimate and speedy construction. Many years of 
labor and exploration of the interior of our continent, and along a 
great part of the way the road will necessarily pass, have conclusively 
satisfied me not only of its entire practicability, but of extraordinary 
advantages offered for its construction. A late journey across the con- 
tinent from the frontier of Missouri was solely directed to an exami- 
nation of the country in reference to the railroad communication, and 
was undertaken in the season of winter in order that all the obstacles 
which could exist to the construction of the road might be known and 
fully determined. The result was entirely satisfactory. It convinced me 
that neither the snow of winter nor the mountian ranges were obsta- 
cles in the way of the road, and furnished me with a far better line 
than any I had previously known. From the frontier of Missouri along 
the line of the Kansas River, 400 miles of rich wooded country, well 
adapted to setdement — by the upper waters of the Arkansas into and 
through the rugged mountains in which they rise, to the valley which 
lies around the head waters of the great Del Norte — the profile of the 
route presents a regularly ascending plain, without a perceptible in- 
equality to break the uniformity of its surface. Lying between the 
38th and 39th parallels of latitude, commencing on the frontier of 
Missouri at the 39th and ending in the Del Norte valley at the 38th — 
the route presents a comparatively straight line, running for a greater 
part of the way through a country capable of settlement, and cultiva- 
tion, and passing through the Arkansas chain (one of the most rugged 
in all the Rocky Mountain ranges), by a pass of imperceptible grade, 
and in every respect one of the best with which we are acquainted in 
those difficult mountains. Beyond the Del Norte that region yet re- 
mains to be explored, well known from reliable information to afford 
through the mountains which separate the valley of the Del Norte 
and Colorado, an excellent pass, traveled by the Mexicans at all sea- 
sons of the year, which gives every reason for believing that the char- 
acter of the country is equally favorable. Its further progress would 
carry it by the southern extremity of the country now occupied by the 
people of Deseret, and thence by the line of the Humboldt River 
around into the head of the lower Sacramento valley, by a pass in the 


Sierra Nevada, but little above the general level of the great basin. 
Such a location would be entirely central, passing by the northern edge 
of the Mexican setdements, going through the southern part of Mor- 
mon — and branching into Oregon from the confines of California. 

Some months since, in conversation with Gen. Smith, I had the 
honor to propose this plan for the location of the road, I further 
indicated to him the existence of this favorable way and pass from 
the Humboldt River into the head of the lower Sacramento Valley. 
Gen. Smith decided immediately to send an exploring party to exam- 
ine the route, and requested me to send him a letter recapitulating the 
information, in order, as he had the kindness to say, that any credit 
which might hereafter belong to the origin of the line, should inure to 
me. The expedition was immediately sent, and although it terminated 
in the death of the gallant officer who commanded it, I am informed 
that his journal and sketches fully establish, so far as he went, the 
practicability of the road.' You are aware that among the indefinite 
objections which have been raised against me, are some of a sectional 
character. Such objections I think may be fairly met with the state- 
ment above. 

The "Mariposa claim" is a tract of land ten leagues in extent lying 
upon a creek of the same name in the San Joaquin valley. It was pur- 
chased for me by Mr. Larkin in the beginning of 1847, and during 
my absence with the battalion in the south, from D. Juan B. Al- 
varado, to whom it had been granted in consideration of his public 
services. Mr. Larkin paid for it $3,000. 1 had never seen the place, and 
know nothing of its character or value. The purchase was made be- 
fore California was ceded to the United States, and long before any 
gold had been discovered. I had always intended to make my home in 
the country if possible, and for this purpose desired a foothold in it. 
On my return to the country in the present year I visited the place in 
company with Dr. Corrie, Mr. Reid,' and several other gentlemen, 
and for the first time saw the land. Two-thirds are adapted only to 
farming; on the other third gold was discovered, and we went to 
work to dig it out. So soon as it was known that we were there, hun- 
dreds — soon becoming thousands — crowded to the same place, and 
to this day from two to three thousand persons have been regularly 
employed. They have worked them freely; no one has ever offered 
them the slightest impediment, nor have I myself, ever expressed to 
any one or entertained an intention of interfering with the free work- 
ing of the mines at that place. I regard the claim to the Mariposa in 


the same light as any other vested right. It was a purchase fairly made, 
and I have always supposed that at some future time the validity of 
the claim would be settled by the proper courts. I am satisfied to wait 
that decision, whether it be favorable or otherwise, and in the mean- 
time to leave the gold, as it is now, free to all who have the industry to 
collect it. 

I was at San Jose, when I had the honor to receive from President 
Taylor, by the hands of Mr. Beale, the commission to run the bound- 
ary line with Mexico. I regarded that commission as a disavowal on 
the part of the President of the proceedings recently held against me. 
Respect to the President, together with a full appreciation of the con- 
sideration which had induced him to make the appointment, did not, 
in my judgment, permit me to decline, and I accordingly accepted the 
commission, with the intention which I then expressed to Mr. Beale 
and others shortly afterwards to resign. I immediately went to San 
Francisco, where I had been informed Col. Weller had arrived. He 
had left that place and I shortly afterwards joined him at Monterey. 
The Secretary of State had made me the bearer of the letter which 
superseded Col. Weller. To present it was a disagreeable office, and 
from motives of delicacy I did not immediately present him the letter, 
but waited until I was about to leave the town. I then called upon 
Col. Weller, in order to ascertain from him, at what time and place it 
would be most agreeable to him, that I should relieve him. I learnt 
that the object of his journey to San Francisco had been to procure 
funds with which to discharge the liabilities of the government to his 
party; and that it would best suit his purposes to obtain the necessary 
sum, return to San Diego, and be relieved by me at that place. I then 
informed him that my instructions left me at liberty to relieve when I 
should be ready to do so, and that accordingly he might proceed to 
San Francisco, and it was agreed, that if Col. Weller did not succeed 
in obtaining money from Gen. Riley, to whom he intended to apply, 
an express should be forwarded to me, and the money obtained at San 
Francisco and brought down by me in the steamer. 

On the eve of leaving San Francisco and too late to negotiate drafts, 
I received an express informing me that General Riley had declined 
furnishing the money. When the steamer reached Monterey, I found 
Colonel Weller on the landing, ready to embark for San Diego, and 
fully expecting to receive the money; understanding the embarrass- 
ment of his situation, I offered, if he determined to go on to San 


Diego, that I would return to San Francisco, to procure the money 
and bring or send it to him. 

I had, in the mean time, resigned my appointment, informing the 
secretary that I should withhold the letter relieving Mr. Weller, and 
leave the department at liberty to make its own arrangements. 

It had become unnecessary for me to go to San Diego in the public 
service, and the management of my private affairs did not otherwise 
leave me the necessary time. I suppose that Colonel Weller was not 
detained at San Diego, as he returned to this place as soon as could be 
expected after the receipt of the money. This is a brief statement of 
the course I have pursued. It was dictated altogether by a disposition 
to promote the interests of Colonel Weller, and to make my concern 
in his removal as little unpleasant as possible. The office was never 
sought after by me, and never sought or expected by any of my 
friends for me. 

In reply to your inquiry for information regarding the "real nature 
of the transaction with D. Eulogio de Celis," I have to state, that, at a 
time when the troops under my command were destitute of provi- 
sions, and we were able to procure them only in small and desultory 
supplies, on a precarious credit. Major Samuel Hensley, then com- 
missary for the battalion, called upon me with an offer from Mr. 
Celis, which I was glad to accept immediately.^ The offer was to fur- 
nish me with 600 head of catde, at ten dollars per head and a loan of 
$2,500, payable all in six months, with the usual interest, if not paid at 
that time, we were to return him the hides as the catde were killed, 
and the difference in price of the catde ($8 being the cash price then), 
being a bonus for the loan and for the relief afforded by the provi- 
sions. D. Andres Pico was charged to bring the cattle from San Louis 
Obispo to Los Angeles. In the interval of his absence. General [Stephen 
Watts] Kearney issued his proclamation, taking out of my hands the 
partial direction of affairs which I had retained, and destroying the 
confidence which the people of the South had been disposed to place 
in me. Desirous to know for the satisfaction of those to whom I was 
indebted, how far Gen. Kearney designed to fulfill my contracts pre- 
viously made, I immediately visited him for that purpose at Monterey. 
As I have already asserted, on my trial before the court martial at 
Washington, he refused to assume any responsibility or to fulfill any 
contract. I immediately returned to Los Angeles, and make known 
his reply to Mr. Celis, Mr. Cot., D. Andres Pico, and other gentlemen 


then at that place. D. Andres Pico had, in the meantime, brought a 
portion of the cattle (between 400 and 500 I believe), to the mission of 
San Fernando, near Los Angeles, where they were waiting to be de- 
livered — what disposition should be made of the cattle was for some 
days a subject of discussion between Mr. Celis, D. Andres Pico, Ma- 
jor Hensley, and myself. It was at first proposed to leave the cattle 
with D. Andres; but agreeably to the suggestion of Major Hensley, it 
was decided to place them with Mr. Stearns, as a security both to 
Celis and to the government, until we should be able to know what 
course would be pursued by the government. They were to be kept by 
Mr. Stearns on the terms usually allowed for keeping cattle, viz: one 
half the increase, and they were not placed in his hand for any fixed 
time, but only to await the action of the government. 

It had been made a matter of charge against me, that I gave to 
Mr. Celis a full receipt for the delivery of all cattle, when I had re- 
ceived only a part. I had the right to do so. I had the right to complete 
my own contracts, when others, whose duty it was to resume them, 
endeavored rather to invalidate them. As Mr. Celis had had sufficient 
confidence in me to advance me money, and I was under order to 
leave the country immediately, I chose to have sufficient confidence in 
him to give him a receipt for all the cattle, and to bind the govern- 
ment to him, so far as I possibly could. These cattle were all delivered 
as soon as they could be brought to Los Angeles. 

Since my return to this country I have received a number of affidavits 
to all the occurrences of the foregoing transaction, from Mr. Wilson, 
Mr. Temple, and other gentlemen, citizens of Los Angeles. These, 
with some other papers, were designed for another occasion, and are 
now at Monterey, but they shall be published as soon as I can conve- 
niently do so. Mr. Celis is now in this city. I have thus, my dear sir, 
briefly and hurriedly answered your several inquiries; I should have 
been better satisfied if there had been time sufficient to give each par- 
ticular point a well-digested reply, but I trust that they may answer 
the present purpose of removing some erroneous impressions; and in 
any event, I beg you to receive my thanks for the kindness of the mo- 
tive which dictated your letter, and which, in every way is consistent 
with the same friendly spirit which has always influenced your con- 
duct to me. With respect and regard, I am yours truly, 

J. C. Fremont 
}. R. Snyder, Esq. 


Printed in Alta California, 15 Dec. 1849. 

1. The officer, William Horace Warner, was killed by hostile Indians on 
26 Sept. 1849. 

2. "Dr. Corrie" was Benjamin Cory, an Ohio physician who had immigrated 
to Oregon before coming south to California. In Dec. 1849 he was representing 
San Jose in the Assembly. "Mr. Reid" is undoubtedly Hugo Reid (1810? -52), 
who was then living in Monterey and was keenly interested in mming as well as 
in the life and customs of the Indians, dakin, however, gives no evidence to asso- 
ciate him directly with JCF's trip to the Mariposa. 

3. For documents and editorial notes relating to the contract between Celis 
and JCF, see Vol. 2, pp. 407-22. 

51. Thomas H. Benton to Fremont 

Washington, 4 Jan. 1850. 

[Introduces Professor [George C] Pratt, "late of the University of 
the State of Missouri," who was going to California with views of 
permanent settlement. ALS (NHi). Pratt in fact returned to Missouri 
and became active in the location and construction of railroads and 
ultimately railroad commissioner (stephens and viles).] 

52. Fremont to James Blair 

Panama, N[ew] G[ranada], Feby. 6, 1850 
My dear Sir, 

The object of this note is to ask the advantages of your acquain- 
tance and friendly regard of the bearer, C. Garvey, Esq. of St. Louis, 

Mr. Garvey is an old resident of that city and a democrat, and 
therefore will have claims on your attention. Any kindness you may 
be able to show to him will [be] very gratifying to me. He will be able 
to give you some recent intelligence of your brother Judge [Mont- 
gomery] Blair. With regard yours truly, 

J. C. Fremont 
Lt. James Blair 


ALS (DLC — Frank Preston Blair Family Papers). The son of Frank Preston 
Blair, James L. Blair (1819-53) had been on the Wilkes expedition. He took a 
year's leave from the Navy in 1849 and went to San Francisco, where with 
$10,000 from his father he started a small shipping business in partnership with 
the Aspinwall brothers. The Fremonts would escort his wife and little daughter 
to California when the first session of Congress ended, and still later the settle- 
ment of young Blair's estate would bring west his brother, Montgomery, who did 
so much to help JCF with his business and legal affairs following the fifth expe- 
dition (smith, 184-88). 

On the same day JCF also wrote on Garvey's behalf to Jacob R. Snyder (cal- 
endared at p. 43 in the Northern California Historical Records Survey Project, 
Works Project Administration, A Calendar of the Major Jacob Rmt{ Snyder Collec- 
tion in the Manuscript Collection of The Society of California Pioneers [San Fran- 
cisco, 1940]). 

53. Fremont to John Torrey 

Washington City, March 28th. 1850 
My Dear Sir, 

I received yours of the 20th yesterday with the same pleasure that I 
always hear from you. I have not yet left my room after a relapse into 
the Chagres fever and therefore write only briefly. I shall be able to 
send you a few plants by your daughter,' which I have no doubt are of 
much interest, as being, some at least, entirely new. I had collected 
many fine plants along the Gila and in Sonora but the man to whom 
I entrusted their collection although professing to be a botanist, per- 
mitted them to get wet repeatedly and many are ruined & the rest he 
did not even label.^ I will however try to locate some, and such as I am 
certain of will try to send you. 

We shall still be able to do a great deal in that country (Sonora & 
California) as I am satisfied there are a great many new plants and my 
interest has rather increased than diminished in the pursuit. 

I notice you have given to Emory one of the plants (with flower) 
which we brought with us in our first return from California.^ I will 
send you another specimen which I bring home this time. 

I was much pleased with the plates you sent and glad to see we 
were able to rescue so many new plants. I am not able to send you the 
drawings; they have been left in California. I shall send for them by 
Adams express & hope to receive them. 


As soon as able, I will send you the notes necessary to the plants I 
will send by your daughter. 

Mrs. Fremont will see Miss Torrey today it will give her pleasure 
to extend her acquaintance in your family. Yours very truly, 

J. C. Fremont 

LS (NHi). 

1. Torrey s youngest daughter, Margaret, "was at Washington where she will 
remain till Spring" (Torrey to Asa Gray, 11 Jan. 1850, extract printed in rob- 
BiNs, 598). 

2. Undoubtedly Frederick Creutzfeldt. 

3. Probably Hymenoclea monogyra, which had been found by Emory on the 
Gila River. 

54. Fremont to Messrs. B. Gerhard 
and Others, Committee 

[ca. 1 April 1850] 

It would have given me great pleasure to have been able to accept 
your kind invitation, and to have met the interesting Mississippi and 
Pacific Railroad Convention on Monday, but the remains of a Chagres 
fever confine me to my room, and leave me no other mode of show- 
ing my sense of your attention, and manifesting the interest I take in 
the great object which assembles this convention, than to contribute, 
so far as I can, to the mass of the information which will be laid be- 
fore it. In doing this, I regret that the state of my health does not 
permit even the labor necessary to give the distances and barometrical 
elevations along the route which I shall offer for your consideration; 
but I have caused a skeleton map, rudely sketched, to be prepared to 
accompany this communication, and which in exhibiting the promi- 
nent features of the country, and general direction of the line, will be 
found sufficiently full and accurate to illustrate what I have to say.' 

Many lines of explorations through the wilderness country, from 
our inhabited frontier to the Pacific Ocean, have conclusively satisfied 
me that the region or belt of country, lying between the 38th and 39th 


parallels of latitude, offer singular facilities and extraordinary com- 
parative advantages for the construction of the proposed road. 

I propose, therefore, to occupy your attention solely with this line; 
for the clearer understanding of which, it will aid to keep under the 
eye of the accompanying map, upon which the unbroken red lines are 
intended to show that the regions which they traverse have been al- 
ready explored, while the broken red lines what is known only from 
reliable information. 

The country to be traversed by the proposed road exhibits but two 
great features — the prairies reaching to about the 105th degree of lon- 
gitude; and the mountains, with which it is bristling from that point 
to the shores of the Pacific ocean. Some years of travel among these 
mountains, during which I was occupied principally in searching for 
convenient passes and good lines of communication, gradually led me 
to comprehend their structure, and to understand that among this ex- 
tended mass of mountains there is nowhere to be found a great con- 
tinuous range having an unbroken crest, where passes are only to be 
found in the comparatively small depressions of the summit line. 
Throughout this great extent of country stretching in each way about 
17 degrees, all these apparently continuous ranges are composed of 
lengthened blocks of mountains, separate and detached of greater or 
less length, according to the magnitude of the chain which they com- 
pose — each one possessing its separate, noted, and prominent peaks, 
and lying parallel to each other, though not usually so to the general 
direction of the range, but in many cases lying diagonally across it. 
Springing suddenly up from the general level of the country, some- 
times rising into bare and rocky summits, of great height, they leave 
openings through the range but little above the general level, and by 
which they can be passed without climbing a mountain. Generally 
these openings are wooded valleys, where the mountain springs from 
either side collect together, forming often the main branches of some 
mighty stream. Aggregated together in this way, they go to form the 
great chain of the Rocky Mountains and Sierra Nevadas as well as 
the smaller and secondary ranges which occupy the intervening space. 
With the gradual discovery of this system, I became satisfied, not only 
of the entire practicability, but of the easy construction of a railroad 
across this rugged region. As this peculiarity forms the basis of my 
information, I desire to state it clearly at the outset, in order that I 
may be more readily understood in proceeding to show that this con- 
tinent can be crossed from the Mississippi to the Pacific, without 


climbing a mountain, and on the very line which every national con- 
sideration would require to connect the great valley of the West with 
the Pacific Ocean. 

In describing the belt of country through which the road should 
pass, it will be found convenient to divide the entire line into three 
parts — the Eastern, reaching from the mouth of the Kansas to the 
head of the Del Norte; the Middle, from the head of the Del Norte to 
the river of the Great Basin; and the Western, from the rim of the 
Great Basin to the ocean. Beginning near the 39th parallel of latitude, 
at the mouth of the Kansas, the road would extend along the valley of 
that river some three or four hundred miles, traversing a beautiful 
and wooded country of great fertility, well adapted to settlement and 
cultivation. From the upper waters of the Kansas, falling easily over 
into the valley of Arkansas, the road strikes that river about a hun- 
dred miles below the foot of the mountains, continuing up it only to 
the mouth of the Huerfano River. From this point the prairie plains 
sweep directly up to the mountains, which dominate them as high- 
lands to the ocean. 

The Huerfano is one of the upper branches of the Arkansas and 
following the lines of this stream the road would here enter into a 
country magnificendy beautiful — timbered, having many bays or val- 
leys of great fertility; having a mild and beautiful climate; having 
throughout the valley country short winters, which spend their force 
in the elevated regions of the mountains. The range of mountains in 
which this stream finds its head springs is distinguished by having its 
summits almost constandy enveloped in clouds of rain or snow, from 
which it obtains its name of Sierra Mojada, or Wet Mountain. This 
chain is remarkable among the Rocky Mountain ranges for the singu- 
lar grandeur of its winter scenery, which has been characterized by 
travellers who have seen both as unsurpassed either in the Alps or the 
Himalayas. Their naked rocky summits are grouped into numerous 
peaks, which rise from the midst of black piny forests, whence issue 
many small streams to the valley below. 

Following by an open wagon way the valley of the Huerfano, the 
road reaches the immediate foot of the mountain at the entrance of 
a remarkable pass, almost everywhere surrounded by bold rocky 
mountain masses. From one foot of the mountain to the other, the 
pass is about five miles long; a level valley trom two to four hundred 
yards wide, the Mountains rising abrupdy on either side. With scarcely 
a distinguishable rise from the river plains, the road here passes di- 


rectly through or between the mountains, emerging in the open valley 
of Del Norte, here some forty or htty miles broad or more properly a 
continuation northward ot the valley in which the Del Xorte runs. 
Crossing the flat countrv', or opening between the mountains, and en- 
countering no water course in its way, the road would reach the 
entrance ot a pass in the Colorado Mountains, familiarly known to 
the New Mexicans and Indian traders, who are accustomed to tra- 
verse it at all seasons ot the year, and who represent it as conducting to 
the waters ot the Colorado River through a handsome rolling grass- 
covered country, affording practical wagon routes. 

Of this section of the route, so far as the entrance of this pass, cover- 
ing twelve degrees of longitude, I am able to speak from actual explo- 
ration, and to say that the line described is not only practicable, but 
affords many singular facilities for the construction ot a railway, and 
offers many advantages in the fertile and wooded country through 
which It lies in the greater part ot its course. 

In the whole distance there is not an elevation worthy of the name, 
to be surmounted; and a level of about 8,000 feet is gained almost 
without perceptible ascent. Upon the Kansas and Huerfano River val- 
leys, the country is wooded and watered: the valley of the Del Norte is 
open, but wood is abundant in the neighboring mountains, and land 
fit for cultivation is found almost continuously along the water courses, 
from the mouth of the Kansas to the head of the valley of the Del 

A journey undertaken in the winter of 1848-49 (and interrupted 
here by entering more to the southward the rugged mountains of St. 
John's, one of the most impracticable on the continent), was intended 
to make a correct examination of this pass and the country beyond to 
the rim of the Great Basin. The failure of this expedition leaves only 
for this middle position of our line such knowledge as we have been 
able to obtain from trappers and Indian traders. The information thus 
obtained had led me to attempt its exploration, as all accounts con- 
curred in representing it practicable for a road, and these accounts 
were considered sutHciently reliable. 

According to this information, the same structure ot the country to 
which I have called your attention above, as forming a system among 
the mountains, holds good here; and I accordingly found no difficulty 
in believing that the road would readily avoid any obstacles which 
might be presented in the shape of mountain ranges, and easily reach 
the basin. In pronouncing upon the practicability of a road through 


this section, I proceed therefore upon my general knowledge of the 
face of the country, upon information received from hunters and resi- 
dents in New Mexico, and upon the established tact that it has not 
only been travelled, but at all seasons of the year, and is one of the 
travelling routes from New Mexico to California. 

The third section of the map is from the Wahsatch Mountain to 
the Sierra Nevada, and thence to the Bay ot San Francisco. This route 
traverses the Great Basin, presenting three different lines, which you 
will find indicated on the map. Repeated journeys have given me 
more or less knowledge of the country along these lines, and I con- 
sider all of them practicable, although the question of preference re- 
mains to be settled. The northern line is that of the Humboldt River, 
which although deflecting from the direct course of the bay, com- 
mands in its approach to the mountains several practicable passes, the 
lowest of which is 4,500 feet above the sea. The southern line, which 
in crossing the Basin has not the same freedom from obstruction en- 
joyed by the open river line of the North, is still entirely practicable, 
and possesses the advantage of crossing the Sierra Nevada at a remark- 
ably low depression, called Walker's pass, more commonly known as 
the Point of the Mountains, and being in fact, a termination of one of 
the mountains which go to form that chain. 

This pass is near the 35th degree of latitude, and near the head of 
the beautiful and fertile valley San Joaquin, which the road thence 
would follow down to its junction with the Sacramento, or to some 
point on the bay. This route deflects to the south about as much as the 
other does to the north, but secures a good way, and finds no obstacle 
from the Sierra, turning that mountain where it has sunk down 
nearly to the level of the country. Among the recent proceedings of 
the California legislature, resolutions were introduced in favor of be- 
ginning in \sic\ the railway at that pass. 

The third line, which is the middle and direct line, and that to 
which I give a decided preference, is less known to me than either of 
the others: but I believe fully in its practicability, and only see the 
principal obstacle to be overcome is the Great Sierra itself, which it 
would strike near its centre. That obstacle is not considered insur- 
mountable, nor in the present state of railway science, sufficient to 
turn us from the direct route. A pass is known as indicated by the line 
upon the map, which labor would render practicable. Other passes 
are also known to the north and south, and if tunneling became nec- 
essary, the structure of the mountains is such as to allow tunnels to be 


used with the greatest advantage. Narrow places are presented where 
opposite gorges approach each other, and a wall of some two or three 
thousand feet often separates points which may not be more than a 
quarter of a mile apart at its base. It will also be remembered that the 
Great Basin east of the Sierra Nevada, has a general elevation of over 
4,000 feet, so that the mountains would be approached on the east at 
that elevation; on the west the slope is wide, though descending too 
near the level ot the tide water. 

The foregoing remarks embody all the general information I am 
now able to give upon this line. The first section of it, from the Mis- 
souri frontier to the head of the Del Norte is explored, and needs no 
further reconnaissances. It is ready for the location of the road by a 
practical engineer. The second and third sections require further ex- 
plorations, to determine, not upon practicability, but upon the prefer- 
ence due to one over the others. 

A party of 300 men, skillfully directed, with the assistance of three 
or four practical road engineers, would be sufficient to lay out the 
whole routes, and clear and open a common road in the course of 
next spring and summer, so as to be passable for wagons and car- 
riages, and as rapidly traversed as any of the common roads in the 
United States. 

The obstacles I have not mentioned are the winter impediments of 
snows, and the temporary one from the hostility of the Indians. The 
latter can be surmounted by military stations sending out military pa- 
trols to clear and scout the line. The snows are less formidable than 
would be supposed, from the great elevation of the central part of the 
route. They are dry, and therefore more readily passed through; are 
thin in the valleys, and remain only during a very brief winter. The 
winter of my last expedition was one of unprecedentedly deep and 
early snows, yet in the valley of the Kansas and Arkansas it was thin; 
in the valley of Huerfano, none; and in the valley of Del Norte the 
snow was only three feet deep; the thermometer at zero near midday. 

The weather in these high mountains and deep valleys is of a char- 
acter adapted to such localities — extremely cold on the mountains, 
while temperate in the valleys. I have seen it storming for days to- 
gether on the mountains in a way to be destructive to all animal life 
exposed to it, while in the valley, there would be a pleasant sunshine, 
and the animals feeding on nutritious grass. Beyond the Rocky Moun- 
tains, the cold is less and the snows become a less and more transient 
obstacle. These are my views of a route for the road or roads (a com- 


mon one is first wanted), from the Mississippi to the Pacific. It ful- 
fills, in my opinion, all the conditions for a route for a national 

1st. It is direct. The course is almost a straight line. St. Louis is 
between 38,39; San Francisco is about the same; the route is between 
these parallels, or nearly between them, the whole way. 

2nd. It is central to territory. It is through the territorial centre west 
of the Mississippi, and its prolongation to the Atlantic ocean would be 
central to the States east of that river. It is also central to business and 
population, and unites the greatest commercial point in the valley of 
the Mississippi with the greatest commercial point on the coast of the 

3rd. It combines the advantages for making and preserving the 
road, wood, water, and soil, for inhabitation and cultivation. 

4th. It is a healthy route. No diseases of any kind upon it; and the 
valetudinarian might travel it in his own vehicle, on horse, or even on 
foot, for the mere restoration of health and recovery of spirits. 

It not only fulfills all the conditions of a national route, but it is 
preferable to any other. It is preferable to the South Pass from being 
nearly four degrees further south, more free from open plains, and 
from the crossing of great rivers. Its course is parallel with the rivers, 
there being but one (the Upper Colorado), directly crossing its line. 
There are passes at the head of Arkansas, in the Three Parks, and 
north of them, but none equal to this by the Rio del Norte. There is 
no route north of it that is comparable to it; I believe there is no prac- 
ticable route south of it in the United States. The disaster which 
turned me south from the head of the Del Norte and sent me down 
that river, and to the mountains around to the Upper Gila, enabled 
me to satisfy myself on that point. 

I went a middle route — a new way — between the Gila River and 
the wagon-road through the Mexican province of Sonora, and am sat- 
isfied that no route for a road can be had on that line, except going 
through Mexico, then crossing the Great Colorado of the West, near 
the mouth of the Gila, to cross the desert to arrive at San Diego, and 
still be six hundred miles by land, and three or four hundred by 
water, from the Bay of San Francisco, which now is and forever must 
be, the great center of commerce, wealth and power on the American 
coast of the Pacific Ocean. 

In conclusion, I have to say that I believe in the practicability of this 
work, and that every national consideration requires it to be done, and 


to be done at once, and as a national work by the United States. Your 
obliged fellow-citizen, 

J. C. Fremont. 

Printed in National Intelligencer, 8 April 1850, Daily Alta California, 23 May 
1850, and bigelow, 399-407. 

1. The Missouri Daily Democrat, 14 Sept. 1853, maintained that the map 
never reached the president of the convention, but "strangely" fell into the hands 
of John Loughborough of the Saint Louis bar, who, it thought, had pirated the 
information for his essays promoting a Pacific railway. JCF is supposed to have 
gotten the map back in the fall of 1852 {Missouri Daily Democrat, 23 Nov. 1853), 
but the reader should remember that JCF was then in Europe, wheat [2], 56, 
notes that the California portion of Loughborough's map was based largely on 
JCF's map. 

55. Robert M. Patterson to Fremont 

Mint U.S. 
Phil. April 2, 1850 
Dear Sir, 

I send herewith a copy of the communication which I mentioned 
to you as being sent to the Secretary of the Treasury in Jan. last*.' It 
has been obtained in the hope that I could accompany it with a draft 
of a bill for the establishment of an assay office at San Francisco. This 
subject, however, has been found to produce some difficulties that I 
had not anticipated; yet I hope to be able to send my views to you in a 
few days. 

R. M. P. 
Hon. J. C. Fremont 

(*Letter dated Jan. 16, 1850) 

SC, initialed (DNA-104, Records of the U.S. Mint at Philadelphia, General 

1. As this is Patterson's copy, no enclosure was found. JCF had seen Patter- 
son on 19 March 1850 when he had presented his letter of introduction from 
Dr. Joseph W. Farnum, a former assayer at the U.S. Mint at Dahlonega, Ga. 
Farnum had undoubtedly seen JCF when the Oregon called at Mazatlan, where 
the letter was written on 9 Jan. 1850. In all likelihood they were already ac- 
quaintances, since Farnum had resided in San Francisco in 1849, advertising 


himself as "Assayer and Metallurgical Chemist, Refiner of Gold, Silver and 
Platina." He was an old friend of Benton's and he is undoubtedly the "Dr. Farn- 
ham" whom the Fremonts saw later in Paris. "Through him," JBF wrote, "the 
scientific world was open to Mr. Fremont, who, in this way acquired the best 
results of knowledge in mining and in treating gold" (Whitfield J. Bell, Jr., Li- 
brarian, American Philosophical Society, to Mary Lee Spence, 5 July 1978; Alta 
California, 25 Oct. 1849; "Great Events," 174). 

56. Fremont to Robert M. Patterson 

Washington City, April 3d. 1850 
Dear Sir, 

Your note of yesterday enclosing a copy of the letter to the Secy, of 
the Treasury, I have just received. It has reached me in good time as I 
am just recovering from a relapse of Chagres fever. As it will [be] 
some ten days or so before we are admitted,' your letter on the subject 
of an assay office at San Francisco will reach me in good time to use it 
in Congress. I beg you to accept my thanks for your kindness to my- 
self and for the information which will be of material benefit to Cali- 
fornia. I am with regard Yours truly, 

J. C. Fremont 
Dr. R. M. Patterson, 
Director U.S. Mint 
Phila., Penn. 

ALS (DNA-104, Records of the U.S. Mint at Philadelphia, General Corre- 
spondence). Endorsed: "Reed. 5th." 

1. JCF was overly optimistic; California was not admitted into the Union un- 
til 10 Sept. 1850. 

57. Robert M. Patterson to Fremont 

Mint U.S., Philada. 
April 5, 1850 
Dear Sir, 

I have to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 3d inst. We 
have had under consideration the subject of the proposed assay office 


at San Francisco, but we gladly take advantage of the further delay 
which you think may be admitted, in the hope that we may have in 
time the important advantage of an interview with Dr. Farnum. 

R. M. P. 
Hon. J. C. Fremont 

SC, initialed (DNA-104, Records of the U.S. Mint at Philadelphia, General 

58. Fremont to Thomas Ewing 

Washington City, April 6th, 1850 


I this day received from Mr. A. B. Gray, Surveyor of the Boundary 
Commission at San Diego, the enclosed letter, with a request that I 
would deliver it to you.' 

As I am not able to call upon you, I comply with his wish in send- 
ing it to you. Very respectfully, Your obedient Servant. 

J. C. Fremont 

ALS (DNA-76, No. 170, Entry 429). After the attempted recall of Weller 
through the appointment of JCF the previous June, the supervision of the Mexi- 
can boundary survey had been transferred from the Department of State to the 
Department of the Interior. Its Secretary, Thomas Ewing, would have no com- 
punction about "butchering" Weller, his old political rival in Ohio, according to 
a charge made by Senator Gwin of California {Congressional Globe, 31st Cong, 
2nd sess., 18 Dec. 1850, pp. 70-82). 

1. On 10 Jan. 1849 President Polk had appointed civilian engineer and Texas 
emigre Andrew B. Gray (1820-62) as principal surveyor of the Mexican Bound- 
ary Commission. Gray's letter, dated San Diego, 20 Feb. 1850, is not printed 
here, but related to his authority to fix points for drawing the boundary. He was 
later dismissed from the commission largely because of differences with his new 
chief, John R. Bartlett, who, he charged, had sacrificed the interests of the South 
and Texas by placing the initial point on the Rio Grande farther north by thirty- 
five miles than called for by the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo and the Disturnell 
map. For the issues and the controversy, see goetzmann, 173-75, and hine [1], 
31-32, 38-45. 


59. Fremont to the Editors of the 
National Intelligencer 

[Tuesday, 9 April, 1850] 
Messrs. Editors: 

Everything coming from Mr. Clay carries with it so much weight, 
and goes so quickly to form the public opinion, that I feel called upon 
to make without delay the following correction. 

An injurious imputation is intimated by Mr. Clay against the State 
of California, in the following passage of his remarks of yesterday, in 
the Senate: 

I am not disposed to charge on a community the misconduct or pecu- 
liar opinions of any individual of that community, but I must say, what I 
have been constrained to feel, that 1 am pained to sec with what con- 
tumacy, with what disregard of the allegiance due from the States, old 
and new, they sometimes treat the parental and paramount authority. 
And I was lately — I will not say provoked, for the annoyance was too 
slight — somewhat grieved at seeing some letter-writers from California 
talking already of breaking off from this Union and setting up for them- 
selves. They will venture on no such hazardous experiment as that. If 
they do, I venture to say the common authority of the Union will recall 
them to obedience and a sense of their duty very quickly.' 

This intimation, and the conditional menace of the power of the 
Government, I feel bound to say, are both gratuitous, because there is 
nothing in the present occasion, nor in the conduct of the people of 
that State, to warrant them. So far from exhibiting any feelings of 
contumacy or disrespect to the Union, the people of California, in all 
their public assemblages and public acts, have steadily manifested an 
enthusiastic affection and perfect respect for the country and Govern- 
ment of the United States. The great body of people in California are 
American citizens, who have recently left this portion of the coun- 
try — many of them temporarily, and all of whom are connected with 
it by ties of family and business. It was a thing of course to regard 
California as a part of their common country, and no doubt or ques- 
tion regarding her future condition as a component part of it has ever 
been raised there. In the formation of her constitution the Convention 
labored scrupulously to assimilate it with those of the other States of 
the Union, and to insert nothing, and to omit nothing, which might 


in any way retard her admission, or make a cause of opposition to it. 
Mr. Clay is not warranted in seizing upon the remark of an unknown 
letter-writer, which is contradicted by every public and authorized act 
of the People and the State, to hang upon it an implied charge of 
disloyalty, and a conditional threat of punishment. 

The Government of the United States has been three years in- 
debted to the people of California for property taken and services ren- 
dered, and during this time they have been paying taxes, without rep- 
resentation, and without protection. 

In fact, the only connexion, with a single exception, that now exists 
between this Government and the people of California is their loyalty 
and affection for the Union. The exception I allude to is the taxation 
which this government sends its ministers there to collect: the tax-law 
being the only law of the United States which the Government has 
been pleased to extend to them. The people there pay tribute to this 
government, and this is the only tie between them and it, except what 
their spontaneous sentiment creates, and manifests in their present 
patient application to be received into closer and assured connexion. 
Respectfully yours, 

J. C. Fremont 

Printed in National Intelligencer, 10 April 1850. 

1. See Senator Henry Clay's remarks in Congressional Globe, 31st Cong., 1st 
sess., 8 April 1850, p. 661. Clay was referring to a movement in Los Angeles to 
have the country from San Luis Obispo to San Diego established as a territory. 
The opposition to statehood came largely from the holders of old Spanish and 
Mexican land grants who feared, first, that the expenses of a state government 
would bring ruinous taxes on them since the public domain could not be taxed, 
and second, that the state legislature would favor the more populous north 
(BANCROFT, 23:349n). 

60. Fremont to John Bidwell 

Washington City 
April lOth 1850 
My Dear Sir, 

I have received your letter including Marshall's petition.' This shall 
be presented and we will do what we can to get it admitted so soon as 


the State is received. The public papers will give you a fair idea of the 
state of things here, but almost every day presents a different phase, 
and it is difficult to say when we shall be admitted though probably 
within a month. 

I send you a paper containing the debate of Monday which will let 
you see how the question stands in the Senate. In both houses we have 
a considerable majority. I go with the party which claims to have 
California admitted alone. You will find in one of the papers I send, a 
card from me in relation to some of Mr. Clay's remarks." 

I go off in the morning to New York in order to arrange some 
business for the steamer of the 13th and therefore write you briefly — 
but I shall write you frequently. We are prepared immediately on ad- 
mission, to urge the bills in reference to lands and other measures 
which the condition of California so much demands. We would have 
them brought forward now but nothing can possibly be done until 
the California question is settled. 

We are able to see by the California papers that the question of 
land titles is becoming daily more involved and is a matter of deep 
regret to us here that we are made the battle ground for some dema- 
gogues to get capital from while the country is suffering. In regard to 
investing the county courts with jurisdiction to settle the land titles, it 
would be useless to send any such petition here, as the constitution 
expressly gives to the United States courts sole jurisdiction in all con- 
troversies to which the United States shall be a party, and therefore 
Congress can grant nothing of the kind. 

I congratulate you on the amount of business your legislature is 
doing, and on the manner in which it is done. I shall be very glad to 
have from you any reports and other proceedings of your body. Very 
truly yours, 

J. C. Fremont 

ALS (Sutter's Fort State Historical Monument). 

1. There is no indication in the records that JCF ever presented the petition 
to Congress. It has not been found, but James Marshall undoubtedly asked for a 
large grant of land around the sawmill on the South Fork of the American River 
where he had discovered gold, gay, 284-98, notes subsequent unsuccessful peti- 
tions, one of which was presented on Marshall's behalf by Commodore Robert F. 
Stockton in 1852. 

2. See Doc. No. 59 and notes. 


61. Fremont to Edward E Beale 

Washington, April 17th, 10 p.m. [1850] 
My dear Mr. Beale, 

Yours of today is just received. My note of this morning will be 
agreeable to you as it informs you that there will be some delay in the 
Secretary's reply to your application for furlough. We will do what we 
can to delay it beyond the 27th. 

You will see by the mornings papers that there was an occurrence 
today in the Senate which will necessarily keep me in Washington 
just now. Foote drew a pistol on Col. Benton, and although there will 
be no consequences to the affair, it would not be proper for me to 
leave." In the meantime don't you leave your wife, as I will keep you 
well informed of what goes on here, and we will try to come and see 
you after a litde. My wife sends her regards to Mrs. Beale," and asks 
you to say to her that from long experience she knows well how to 
sympathise with her. Do not leave home, but let me hear from you. 
Are you writing up your Gila journey? ^ Yours truly, 

J. C. Fremont 
Mr. Edward F Beale 
Chester, Penn. 

ALS (DLC — Decatur House Papers, Box 4). 

1. For some time the Senate had been debating Henry Clay's proposals with 
reference to slavery, the admission of California, the organization of territorial 
governments in New Mexico and Utah, and the Texas- New Mexico bound- 
ary — all of which later came to be called the Compromise of 1850. Mississippian 
Henry S. Foote wished the proposals referred to a select committee of thirteen; 
Benton wanted the power of the committee so limited that it could not discuss 
abolition, in this way permitting Congress to reassure southerners that it had no 
desire to oppress them or their institutions. When Benton referred briefly to Cal- 
houn's Southern Address (1849) as "agitation," Foote, who had goadingly vilified 
the Missourian on a number of previous occasions, began a reply that was per- 
sonally vindictive. At this point Benton left his desk and advanced toward Foote; 
the latter backed down the aisle toward the vice-president's dais, drawing and 
cocking a five-chambered loaded pistol as he moved. Pandemonium reigned in 
the Senate. A special committee was appointed to investigate the incident and 
when it questioned JCF as to Benton's motive in approaching Foote, the explorer 
replied, "As nearly as I can remember, Mr. Benton said he went to or towards 
Mr. Foote's desk, to hear what Mr. Foote should say" (Senate Report 170, 31st 
Cong., 1st sess., p. 31, Serial 565). Its report intimated that Benton had intended 
to intimidate or assault Foote and absolved Foote of "any design or desire to 
assassinate" Benton, but did condemn him for engaging in "offensive and insult- 


ing" personalities. For details of this particular incident and of earlier Benton- 
Foote confrontations, see not only the report cited above but also the Congressio- 
nal Globe, 31st Cong., 1st sess., 17 April, 27 March, 30 July 1850, pp. 751-64, 
602-4, 1480-81; chambers, 356-62; and gonzales, 69-71. 

2. The Beales' first child, Mary, nicknamed "Mame," had been born in March. 

3. The "Gila journey" was Beales 1848-49 trip to California when he met 
the same winter conditions that almost destroyed JCF in the San Juans. Fifty 
miles below Socorro, he took the route which Stephen Watts Kearny had used in 
1846 and which for a time follows the Gila River through deep gorges. Several 
times Beales mules slipped off the narrow ledges and plunged to their deaths. In 
central Arizona his party was attacked by Apaches, and in the Mojave it suffered 
from a severe shortage of water. He seems never to have written an official ac- 
count of his journey; in fact, he reported to Bayard Taylor on 28 March 1850 that 
he was finding it impossible to do so. 

62. Fremont to C. Edwards Lester 

Washington City, April 25, 1850 
My dear Sir, 

I had the pleasure to receive your letter yesterday morning. My re- 
cent illness accumulated engagements so much upon me, that I find 
myself just now oppressed with business. I was therefore glad to 
thank Colonel Benton for offering to draw up the account you sug- 
gest,' and the more especially as he will use only more prominent cir- 
cumstances, from want of acquaintance with details. Of course, you 
will model as you please the sketch he may send you, striding out and 
amending according as your particular view of the subject will require. 

Making you many acknowledgements for the distinction of being 
placed so early in your work, I am, with regard, yours truly, 

J. C. Fremont 
Charles Edward [s] Lester, Esqre. 
New York 

ALS (James S. Copley Collection, La Jolla, Calif.). Trained in both law and 
theology, Charles Edwards Lester (1815-90) was now engaged in writing popu- 
lar biography and history and serving as a correspondent of the London Times. 

1. For information about Benton's Thrilling Sketch of the Life of Col. J. C. 
Fremont . . ., see Doc. No. 72. 


63. Fremont to Benjamin D. Wilson 

Washington City, April 26. 1850 
My dear Sir, 

Your letter of January 1st was received by the last mail from Cali- 
fornia, and probably too late to prevent payment of the draft, provided 
certain sales were made out of which payment was to have been 
made. You will probably see Mr. Jones shordy after the receipt of this 
letter, as he will sail for California in the steamer of May 4th, and his 
business will necessarily call him to your part of the country soon after 
his arrival.' It is not probable that the state will be admitted before the 
last days of the session, and we shall therefore have very little time to 
work for California in Congress, but we will [do] all that is possible. 
At all events if we can get no good laws passed, we will take care that 
no bad ones are. You will see from Buder King's report,' that he is 
against the old land titles in California; but he cannot do any harm, 
and has laid himself open to us by his great ignorance of the whole 
subject. His object is to gain popularity among the newcomers in 
California. The administration too have brought forward a bill hostile 
to the titles, but we shall have no difficulty in defeating it, whether we 
are in or out of Congress. 

Since Mr. Calhoun's death ^ Clay has been endeavoring to get at the 
head of the Southern party, and so has acted with them against the 
interests & admission of California, but the voice of the whole country 
is rising against them, and newspapers of all parties are everywhere 
coming out against them. 

I send you some of Col. Benton's speeches on the subject and some 
newspapers & other documents. Yours truly, 

J. C. Fremont 
Capt. B. D. Wilson 
Los Angeles, Cal. 

ALS (CSmH). 

1. With William Carey Jones went Gwinn Harris Heap, JCFs newly ap- 
pointed resident agent for Las Mariposas (Testimony, DNA-49, California Pri- 
vate Land Claims Dockets, Docket 1, pp. ICO- 101). He was a cousin of Ed- 
ward F. Beale and a discoverer of one of the early veins — the Heap Vein — on 
the estate. Also traveling to California in May with Jones and Heap was Beale's 
brother-in-law, Henry B. Edwards. From the time of his arrival until his tempo- 
rary return in Oct. 1851, he was primarily on the Mariposa "doing business on 
his own account," and later assisting JCF in the delivery of cattle to the Indians 


under the contract with George W. Barbour (Certificate of Henry B. Edwards, 
24 Jan. 1852, DNA-75, LR, California B-10 1852 f/w Special File No. 266). 

2. House Ex. Doc. 59, 31st Cong., 1st sess., Serial 577. 

3. John C. Calhoun died 31 March 1850. 

64. Fremont to Robert M. Patterson 

Washington City, April 27, 1850 
My Dear Sir, 

Your note of yesterday is just received. I intended the specimens to 
be destroyed in making the examination. So far as my judgment 
could be formed from what excavations we had had time to make, I 
considered the different specimens which I sent on by Mr. Hunt ' as 
representing about what would be the average product. He sent me 
yesterday some results which appear enormous. I desired him to ask 
you if you should find it convenient to ascertain more particularly in 
what proportion the gold was contained in such fragments of the rock 
as do not show any. May I hope soon to hear the result? Very truly 

John C. Fremont 
Dr. R. M. Patterson, 

ALS (DNA-104, Records of the U.S. Mint at Philadelphia, General Corre- 
spondence). Endorsed: "Reed. 29." 

1. Possibly Alfred Hunt, who later testified that he was acquainted with 
JCF's handwriting (Testimony before J. B. Burns, 22 Feb. 1858, in connection 
with business of the Philadelphia and California Mining Company, Mariposa 
County Deeds, Book D, pp. 360-64). 

65. Fremont to Jacob R. Snyder 

Washington City, April 29, 1850 
My dear Major, 

Yours of the 26th I received yesterday. We regret to hear of the con- 
tinued ill health of your mother, but hope it may improve in the pres- 
ent fine weather, and that we may soon have the pleasure of seeing 


you here. Mr. Larkin writes me that he will be here with others of 
our friends about the 5th.' I sent your message to Mr. Beale by his 
brother-in-law, Edwards.' He will be here himself tomorrow. Very 
truly yours, 

J. C. Fremont 
Major Jacob R. Snyder 

ALS (The Society of California Pioneers — Jacob Rink Snyder Papers). 

1. Ex-Consul Thomas O. Larkin had several reasons for bringing his influ- 
ence to Washington. His war loans to JCF in California were still unpaid by 
Congress; he wished to have Benicia, where he had heavy investments, made a 
port of entry; and he recognized that his own land claims would be gready bene- 
fited by the loose-claim legislation favored by JCF and Benton (gates [2]). 

2. See Doc. No. 63, n.l. 

66. Fremont to Thomas O. Larkin et al. 

Washington, 30 April 1850. 

[Regrets that his "numerous and pressing engagements" will pre- 
vent his attending the reunion of so many old friends and fellow citi- 
zens. Printed in New York Herald, 2 May 1850. The Herald noted 
that the grand dinner and magnificent ball, costing $8,000-$ 10,000, 
took place at the Irving House on Broadway. "It was given by 24 Cali- 
fornians to their friends from California, and those at home who had 
taken a prominent part in the California movements. ... It was the 
most choice, recherche, elegant, refined, tasty affair that had ever been 
got up in New York. . . . One hundred and fifty people of both sexes 
went there to be happy."] 

67. Fremont to Thomas Denny Sargent 

[30 April 1850] 

An Indenture, made this thirtieth day of April in the year One 
thousand eight hundred and fifty between John Charles Fremont of 
the first part, and Thomas D. Sargent of the other; 


Witnesseth that in consideration of the rents, provisos and agree- 
ments hereinafter Contained and Which on the part of the said 
Thomas D. Sargent are to be done and performed, he the said John 
Charles Fremont has demised and leased, and does hereby demise 
and Lease to the said Thomas D. Sargent his executors, Administra- 
tors and assigns a lot or square of land measuring six hundred feet on 
each of the four sides with all the Mineral property and issues therein 
Contained, quicksilver along [sic] excepted, — the Said lot or square of 
land, being upon a tract belonging to said John Charles Fremont, by 
Virtue of purchase from Don Juan B. Alvarado, ex-Governor of Cali- 
fornia the same situate near or on the Mariposas river, and its branches, 
The square of land to be selected by the party of the second part from 
any of the lands above described, not previously Occupied by Consent 
of said John Charles Fremont at the time of the Selection Which is to 
be made upon the ground. 

To have and to hold the same to the party of the second part, to his 
heirs and assigns without let, hindrance or molestation from the party 
of the first part, or from any person or persons Claiming by, through 
or under him the said John Charles Fremont for and during the term 
of Seven years from the date hereof 

The party of the first part does further grant to the party of the 
second part a Section of land not exceeding One hundred Acres, the 
Selection of Which to be approved by said John C. Fremont provided 
said selection be not made on Mineral land And that no mining Op- 
eration of any description be Carried on upon it, but to be Occupied 
and improved for farming purposes, building houses, or any other 
purposes Connected with Mining Operations upon the aforesaid 
square of land, with permission to Cut such timber and Wood as may 
be necessary for his wants, and also to make use of such Water and 
Water privileges not previously Occupied as may be required for his 
Mining Operations, 

It is further granted and agreed by the party of the first part that 
the party of the second part at any time exchange the lot of Which he 
shall at first Select for another of the same dimensions upon the 
aforesaid premises not leased to other parties nor improved by the 
party of the first part, for his own use. 

And in Consideration of the above Lease, the party of the second 
part does hereby Covenant and agree to pay to the said John Charles 
Fremont, his heirs and assigns One sixth part of all the Gold and 
other Minerals Obtained from Mining, or any other Operations upon 


said square of land, the same to be paid or delivered, quarterly at the 

The party of the second part agrees, that if the aforesaid square of 
land Occupied by him shall remain unimproved for Mining purposes, 
at any One time, for a period of Six months, the same shall revert 
with all the privileges appertaining to said lot to the party of the 
first part. 

And it is understood that nothing herein Contained shall be Con- 
strued to imply a permission to work any Mine or Mines of quick- 
silver, Which are expressly reserved to the party of the first part, and 
the said Thomas D. Sargent, his heirs, executors and administrators 
does Covenant to and with the said John Charles Fremont, his heirs 
and assigns, that he will peaceably Yield up said lands, and all the 
privilege thereto belonging at the expiration of Seven Years from the 
Date hereof, together with all and singular the improvements which 
shall have been made, upon said lands, the same becoming the prop- 
erty of the said John Charles Fremont. 

In Witness Whereof the parties to these presents have hereto set 
their hands and affixed their seals the day and year above written 
Witness to the 
Signatures of 

J. C. Fremont & J. C. Fremont [Seal] 

T. D, Sargent. T. D. Sargent [Seal] 

G. H. Heap. 

DS (Office of the Recorder of Deeds, Washington, D.C.). Lease recorded 
16 May 1850. 

Copies of JCF's early leases are rare, and biographical information on Thomas 
Denny Sargent must be pieced together from many sources. At this time he was 
thirty-four years old and had lived in Massachusetts (DNA-59, Passport Appli- 
cations, vol. 72, no. 5457). Four days after obtaining this lease from JCF he as- 
signed "two undivided thirds" of all his interest in it to two fellow residents of 
the District of Columbia, Alexander H. Harper and James Eldridge (Sargent to 
Harper and Eldridge, 3 May 1850, Office of the Recorder of Deeds, Washington, 
D.C.). He then obtained a second lease from JCF on 21 May 1850 and with 
Harper and Eldridge went out to the Mariposa to prospect and locate their 
leases. The one in which all three had an interest was located on the banks ol the 
Mariposa River and was called the Santa Maria Mine; the second lease was lo- 
cated on a quartz vein, situated on the banks of the Ave Maria River, and came 
to be known as the San Carlos Mine. 

Sargent then went to England in an attempt to interest Britishers in forming 
companies and raising capital for working the two mines. His operations were 
vigorously resisted by David Hoffman, who had been authorized by JCF to 
form companies and grant leases. In the meantime Harper died, and in a quick 
trip to the United States to arrange for the retransfer of the Eldridge-Harper 


interests to himself, Sargent negotiated with J. Eugene Flandin and Thomas H. 
Benton to purchase the entire Mariposa estate for a miUion dollars (duncan). 
JCF repudiated the sale; Sargent lodged a bill of complaint against him in the 
British Court of Chancery and JCF settled "privately" (Sargent v. Fremont, Brit- 
ish Court of Chancery, 27 March 1852, and Fremont v. Hoffman, Brief, Bill and 
Answer, 24 Dec. 1852, p. 13; copies of both of these long documents are in 
NHi — David Hoffman Papers). 

In 1861 Sargent wrote the Secretary of War that he had a strategem for "bag- 
ging" Jefferson Davis and other prominent secessionists "without much cost com- 
paratively" (Sargent to Simon Cameron, 8 July 1861, DNA-107, LR S-183 [98]). 

68. Robert M. Patterson to Fremont 

Mint U.S. Phil. May 2, 1850 
Dear Sir, 

Your specimens of California gold ore has been carefully examined, 
and has led to the following results. 

The whole weight of gold in the piece was 34 grains. 

It was divided into two parts. One the quartz with visible gold, and 
the other quartz without visible gold. 

The gold in the first was in the proportion of 459.38 grs. in one lb. 

The gold in the second was in the proportion of 3.15 grs. per lb. 

The fineness of the gold was 888.5 thousandths. 

Hence it follows that the value of 100 lbs. avoir, (compounding to 
about a bushel in volume), of the first portion, is $1755. 

And the value of 100 lbs. of the second part is $12.11. 

R. M. P. 

SC, initialed (DNA-104, Records of the U.S. Mint at Philadelphia, General 

69. Fremont to William M. Gwin 

C Street, Washington, May 8th [1850] 
My dear Sir, 

Thinking you may perhaps need Dr. Chamberlin's letter at the 
Senate,' I send it up immediately. 


I had been for some time aware that such a movement was in- 
tended, & am glad to know that it found such small support. Yours 

J. C. Fremont 
Hon. Mr. Gwin 
Senate Chamber 

ALS (CU-B). William McKendree Gwin (1805-85) was the other senator- 
elect from California. After its admission he drew the long term, to JCF's great 
disappointment. Gwin was likewise very ambitious and his primary motive in 
going to California was to obtain the senatorial office and return to Congress, 
where he had already represented Mississippi in the House (thomas, 23-29). 

1. Elected from the San Diego district and like Gwin a physician, E. Kirby 
Chamberlin was president pro tern of the California senate. An extract of his 
letter is contained in Senator Foote's remarks as printed in the Congressional 
Globe, 31st Cong., 1st. sess., 9 May 1850, p. 967. Dealing with the opposition of 
the southern Californians to state government noted in Doc. No. 59, n. 1, Cham- 
berlin termed the disaffection slight, coming largely from the old American 
Spaniards with "not a single new resident or emigrant" participating. The Hun- 
garian Agoston Harazthy, however, was behind the opposition in San Diego, 
which Edward Gilbert termed "little short of treason" {ibid.; Gilbert to Daily 
Alta California, Washmgton, D.C., 10 May 1850). 

70. Robert M. Patterson to Fremont 

U.S. Mint, Philada. 
May 10, 1850 
Hon. John C. Fremont 
Dear Sir 

You are aware that I have been delaying compliance with your re- 
quest for the draft of a bill organizing an Assay Office in California in 
the hope of conferring personally with Dr. Farnum, whose judgment 
and experience would render essential aid. He has not arrived; and I 
must therefore beg you to give me your views, as a preliminary step, 
upon the alternative which I have to propose. 

Do you, on the one hand, think it best that the proposed Assay 
Office should be solely for the accommodation of custom-house trans- 
actions, so that the Collector should first receive the grain-gold, sub- 
ject to the determination of its value by the Assayer; or, on the other 


hand, should the Office be constituted upon a large plan, and for gen- 
eral accommodation, so that the grain-gold should first be carried 
there, assayed, cast into bars, and stamped, and then be receivable at 
the Custom House, and for public lands, and perhaps for debts be- 
tween individuals? 

The two bases here suggested would require very different schemes 
of legislation, and I do not feel prepared to proceed upon either, with- 
out your advice and direction. Very respectfully, 

[ Unsigned] 

SC (DNA-104, Records of the U.S. Mint at Philadelphia, General 

71. Fremont to Robert M. Patterson 

Washington City, May 15, 1850 
My dear Sir, 

I was gratified with the receipt of yours of the 10th inst. as it is 
probable that we shall in a few weeks be able to do something for our 
state, and I would be glad to have things in the best possible condition 
for taking most advantage of what little time will remain for our 
share of business. I am clearly of opinion that we should adopt the 
larger of the two plans you propose. It provides for the general accom- 
modation and will be most serviceable to the country. 

Please let me hear as soon as your many other avocations conve- 
niently permit, and oblige. Yours very truly, 

J. C. Fremont 
Dr. R. M. Patterson, 
Director U.S. Mint 

ALS (DNA-104, Records of the U.S. Mint at Philadelphia, General Corre- 
spondence). Endorsed: "Reed. 17." 


72. Fremont to C. Edwards Lester 

Washington City, May 17, 1850 
My dear Sir, 

Your note of the 15th was received last night. I have been for 
several days tied down to business connected with California and 
therefore did not read, until after the receipt of your note, what 
Col. Benton had drawn up.' I am not satisfied with it because it is 
altogether too eulogistic giving too much point to small things, and 
if I were to make any correction of it, I would do so by rewriting 
the whole. But as your letter is urgent — leaving no time for me to 
write — I send you Col. Benton's sketch, earnestly requesting you to 
use it, as you say in your note as material, and clothing the facts you 
may select in your own language, I regret that you have this labor, 
which I certainly intended should have been spared you. 

I remarked to Col. Benton that his article is altogether beyond the 
length contemplated by your sketches. He therefore expects that you 
will only use prominent points, and asks that the manuscript may af- 
terward be returned to him as he designs extending it for other 

I send you, accompanying the manuscript, a July number of the 
Southern [Quarterly] Review which contains a notice of myself by 
Govr. Hammond of South Carolina.' It is a well written article, and 
may furnish you with some material. Knowing that your own excel- 
lent taste will make the proper use of Col. Benton's sketch, I leave it 
in your hands & am very truly yours, 

J. C. Fremont 
C. Edwards Lester 
New York 

ALS (ICHi). 

1. Benton's short biography of ]C¥ was pubHshed in London in several edi- 
tions with varying titles. J. Field printed it as a twenty-one-page pamphlet en- 
titled Thrilling S/{etch of the Life of Col. J. C. Fremont, . . . and also combined it 
with a more lengthy description of his overland route to Oregon and California. 
R. S. Francis and J. K. Chapman put out similar enlarged editions. All four 
were designed to attract the public to John Skirving's moving panorama which 
opened in Egyptian Hall, Piccadilly, on 27 April 1850. It attracted 35,000 patrons 
and ran until 6 Dec. 1851 before being dismantled for showing in the provincial 
cities and towns of Great Britain. The panorama was painted by American art- 


ists — Skirving, Joseph Kyle, Jacob A. Dallas, and J. Lee — who based a large 
portion of their work on sketches from Fremont's expeditions (arrington). 

A similar JCF tableau opened at the Theatre des Varietes in Paris on 8 Aug. 
1850 (hulbert). 

2. JCF errs in attributing authorship of the unsigned article to the former 
governor of South Carolina, James Henry Hammond. Written by his brother, 
Marcus Claudius Marcellus Hammond, the article was entitled "The Conquest 
of California and the Case of Lieut. Col. Fremont," and was published in the 
Southern Quarterly Review, 15 (July 1849):410-44 (simms, 2:484-85, 530-31). 

73. Fremont to C. Edwards Lester 

Washington City, May 17, 1850 
My Dear Sir, 

Since writing the note of this morning I have sent you by Adams 
Express the volume containing Govr. Hammond's sketch ' of myself 
in the article headed "Conquest of California." 

I write to call your attention particularly to the latter part of it — 
thinking you might not have time to read the whole. I think this con- 
cluding part written with force and beauty & I will be gratified if you 
find yourself able to draw upon it for some of your material.^ 

The volume I send is borrowed from the Congressional Library — 
please return it as sent, as soon as you have done using it. Yours very 

J. C. Fremont 


1. For correct authorship, see Doc. No. 72, n. 2. 

2. The article was extremely laudatory of JCF, who Hammond noted was no 
mere "mushroom hero." He conceded that Benton's support had not always been 
favorable to his cause, but wrote: "He [Fremont] will probably shake off the dust 
from his garments, and, by new and more noble achievements in science and 
discovery, clear his escutcheon from every stigma. . . . His endowments are large 
and solid, highly cultivated and constantly expanding. . . . If Generals Scott and 
Taylor are historically immortal for capturing the city of the Montezumas and 
subduing the northern provinces, Fremont must be equally distinguished for his 
conquest, which, intrinsically, is incomparably superior to them all" {Southern 
Quarterly Review, 15 [July 1849]:410-44). 


Dear Sir: 

74. Fremont to Richard Robert 

Washington City, May 19, 1850 

A reference to the large map published in 1848," and which is 
amongst the Papers I have given, will shew you the position of the 
Mariposas upon a small affluent to the Upper San Joaquin. The 
smaller sketch, altho' not a topographical plan, is a survey of the place, 
and is sufficient to shew its general features."^ It is divided into sec- 
tions, according to the nature of the ground, the upper or mountain 
section containing about 25 square miles being the gold bearing part; 
and the lower section that which is more especially suited to agricul- 
ture. In the middle section, there are small and fertile vallies, very 
suitable for cultivation. The middle and upper sections are wooded 
with oak and pine, and the lower or valley section is wooded with 
oaks, only along the immediate valley or bottom lands of the stream. 

This stream runs direcdy across the valley of the San Joaquin, but 
reaches the main river only in the rainy season. At other times and 
throughout the course in the valley section, the stream bed has water 
only in holes, or springs, which remain all the year. The soil of the 
immediate valley of the stream in this the plain or valley section is a 
rich vegetable mould covered with luxuriant grass and wild oats, 
which latter remain green until the end of June, later than is generally 
the case in other parts of the Country. This is an evidence of a large 
share of moisture in the soil and favorable to its cultivation. In the 
mountain section the water runs all the year in the eastern branches of 
the stream and is sufficient for all mining purposes, and if collected by 
a small aqueduct, could be carried below to irrigate the valley section, 
which the large body of fertile land there would well justify. 

You will remark noticed upon the Plan of the place particular 
points where gold has been found most abundant. We suppose it to 
be distributed in greater or less quantity throughout the soil of the 
mountain section (25 square miles) and very probably further still. 
This part of the tract is intersected by many lines of quartz rock, but 
there have been and a few of them only, very slightly examined. 

The particular vein which we have opened is in a ledge of quartz 
rock in the hill[?] on the east side of the Eastern Fork of the Mariposa 
Creek. You will find it marked upon the plan by the words "Quartz 


Rock." This rock has a very great incUnation and extends some three 
or four miles in length to where it terminates in a hill of quartz. 
When I left California in January last, this rock had been opened but 
in one point and only to a depth of about two feet. The gold showed 
in the side in a thickness of about two feet. 

Examinations made upon what we judged to be ordinary speci- 
mens from this rock gave the results which are stated in the letters 
from Mr. Hunt and the Director of the Mint at Philadelphia.^ How 
far this character of the rock may continue we cannot say, as no exam- 
ination has been made. The stream which runs parallel with it is 
throughout rich in gold, and this circumstance warrants the opinion 
that the rock is in the same condition. 

By the steamer of the 4th instant I sent agents ^ there for the pur- 
pose of further examination. 

The above comprise the most material facts in relation to the place. 

During the quarter part of the year and probably all the year, small 
steamers may run within 45 miles of the Mine, and experience so far 
shows that it is a remarkably healthy region. 

Other information may be furnished you as points arise from time 
to time. Yours truly, 

J. C. Fremont 
Richard Robert, Esq. 
Washington City 

Copy (NHi — David Hoffman Papers). Endorsed: "Mr. Andrew Smith. Copy 
letter by Col. F. of information and instruction to his Agents." Richard Robert, 
an American residing in London, was in Baltimore on a business mission for 
David Hoffman when Charles F. Mayer introduced him to JCF. Robert was able 
to convince the latter of the value of having British capitalists develop Las Mari- 
posas. Within a short time he and Hoffman had a power of attorney to act to- 
gether as JCFs agents in forming associations, raising money, and giving leases 
for the development of the California estate (Doc. No. 75). 

1. The map of Oregon and California was published as part of Senate Misc. 
Doc. 148, 30th Cong., 1st sess., Serial 511, and as Map 5 in the Map Portfolio 
accompanying Vol. 1. 

2. Charles Preuss had surveyed the grant in the summer of 1849 and made a 
map (see Vol. 2, p. 299n, and tyson, 29). 

3. See Doc. Nos. 64 and 68. 

4. Gwinn Harris Heap and Henry B. Edwards left from New York (see Doc. 
No. 63, n. 1). 


75. Fremont's Power of Attorney 
to Richard Robert and David Hoffman 

[21 May 1850] 

Whereas, I, John Charles Fremont, of California, am proprietor of 
Lands in that Territory containing Gold ore, and also, as it is believed. 
Quicksilver ore, and desire that said Gold and Quicksilver ores should 
be mined and be made available, and am, therefore, willing to convey 
and assure to any Associations, or Joint-Stock companies, for that ob- 
ject, to be formed in England and on the Continent of Europe, full 
mining privileges for said metals in said lands, or in such portions 
thereof as may be set apart for such associations or companies, but to 
such extent as shall afford occupations for all the workmen and ma- 
chinery that any such Associations, or Companies, shall employ and 
be prepared to use and apply at any time: 

Now these Presents witness that to carry into effect my above de- 
clared objects, I have appointed and hereby constitute and appoint 
Richard Robert, Esquire, of London and about to go thither from 
these United States of America, my Attorney for me to proceed to 
England and to the Continent of Europe and in my name to propose 
for subscriptions to stock for an Association or Associations as afore- 
said — the Capital for any one associations stock not being less than 
Hundred Thousand Pounds Sterling — such subscriptions to be 
taken and stipulated for on such terms with reference to any share of 
the monies yielded by the subscription, and in regard to any share of 
the nett profits of the mining aforesaid, in my behalf and for my ben- 
efit, as my said Attorney, in conjunction with David Hoffman,' Es- 
quire, of 41 Conduit Street, London, shall fix and ordain, and said 
Richard Robert and David Hoffman, Esquires, also stipulating in my 
name that the Mining privileges aforesaid shall be only and effectually 
granted and assured to such associations for terms of years extending 
to the period of Seven years, and to be exercised within such limits in 
my said Lands as shall be fixed by said Robert and Hoffman under 
any Letter or Letters of Instruction from me or from Charles Freder- 
ick Mayer,^ Esquire, of Baltimore, counter-signed by me; it being, 
however, understood that such limits shall afford adequate scope for 
the employment as aforesaid of all workmen and machinery that may 
be had and prepared by said Associations for mining as aforesaid: in 
the term "mining" I embrace all washings from streams. And I do 


hereby empower my said Attorney Richard Robert, with the advice 
and under the direction of said Hoffman, to take all proceedings and 
do all things and enter into all contracts for and toward, organizing 
Associations as aforesaid and, so far as may be practicable, in such 
manner that the members thereof shall be held to no personal respon- 
sibility for any operations, or contracts, of such associations; and it 
being hereby provided that said David Hoffman, Esquire, shall be a 
Trustee and Director of, and in respect of any such Associations that 
may be formed in England. 

And I do hereby provide and declare that, until the Associations to 
be formed as aforesaid shall respectively be perfected in organization 
so as to be entided to act in their respective associate or corporate 
names and capacities and in that character to take charge of monies 
subscribed, the monies to be subscribed for stock as aforesaid shall be 
deposited with, and by the Stock subscribers paid to, such Bankers as 
may be designated by said Hoffman and Robert, to be held for the 
Associations forming as aforesaid, and ultimately to be applied as the 
proposed terms of subscription, or Association, may require or allow. 

And I do hereby require that in respect of the share, or interest, 
that shall be fixed and specified for me in the profits and operations of 
any such associations, provisions be made for a representation of my 
concern as aforesaid, or that of my Executors, Administrators, or As- 
signs, in the Directory or Board of Management or of Trustees, or 
other Administrative authority of such Associations, according to the 
form of the organization aforesaid. 

And to the effect and toward the fulfillment of what I have herein 
before declared, I do hereby, for myself and my Heirs, covenant with 
all Members of Associations to be created and organized as aforesaid; 
and also that all that I shall direct, and assent to by any Letter, or 
Letters, of Instructions from me or countersigned by me, in any wise 
concerning the objects or interests of such Associations, or of any of 
the members as such of said Associations shall to all purposes be 
deemed as part of these presents and as if here embodied. 

In witness whereof I do hereto, at the City of Washington, in the 
District of Columbia, set my Hand and Seal, this Eighteenth Day of 
May in the year of Our Lord Eighteen Hundred and Fifty. 

[Signature cut out and the following paragraph added:] 

And I do hereby further declare that no privileges or rights granted 
to any Association or Associations formed in pursuance of powers 
and instructions given in the above instrument to my said attorney 


Richard Robert in conjunction with David Hoffman, Esquire, shall 
be considered binding upon me until their acts shall have been duly 
ratified and approved by me. In whereof I do hereto at the City of 
Washington in the District of Columbia set my Hand and Seal this 
twenty-first day of May in the year of our Lord Eighteen Hundred 
and Fifty. 

John Charles Fremont 
Signed, Sealed, and delivered 
in presence of 
John M. Clayton 
W. S. Derrick [?] 

DS (NHi — David Hoffman Papers). Attached to the power of attorney is a 
certificate to the effect that JCF's signature is genuine and entitled to full faith 
and credit. It is signed by John M. Clayton, Secretary of State. 

1. David Hoffman (1784-1854) had been professor of law at the University of 
Maryland, but had been living in London since 1847, where he sometimes pro- 
moted land and emigration companies. He and JCF were casual acquaintances 
of long standing, having been introduced by Joseph N. Nicollet. 

2. Charles F. Mayer, a brother of the more famous Brantz, was an attorney in 
Baltimore and had served a term in Maryland's senate (scharf). Hoffman and 
the Mayer brothers were lifelong friends. 

76. Fremont to David Hoffman 

Washington City, May 22. 1850 
Dear Sir, 

After some consultation with our mutual friend Charles F Mayer, 
Esquire, I have decided to request you to become a Trustee in En- 
gland of all my interests in an association which I desire to form there 
for the purpose of carrying on mining operations upon a certain prop- 
erty held by me in the gold region of California. I have deputed 
Richard Robert, Esquire, of London, who will hand you this note, to 
confer with you upon this subject, and have also commissioned him to 
act in conjunction with you, should you conclude to accept the trust. 
In that event you will please draw upon me for the necessary and 
reasonable expenditures which Mr. Robert may contract in the for- 
mation of the association. Mr. Mayer, who has consented to act as my 
solicitor will send on from time to time such farther information and 


instructions as may present themselves here, or may grow out of your 
own suggestions. 

As our mining interests require immediate action, I would be glad 
to have your views as early as suits with your convenience. Hoping 
therefore to hear from you about the end of June, I am very re- 
spectfully yours, 

J. C. Fremont 
David Hoffman, Esquire 
Conduit Street, London 

ALS (NHi — David Hoffman Papers). Endorsed: "Reed. June 5th. London. 
1st Letter." 

77. Fremont to Charles E Mayer 

Washington City, May 28, 1850 
My Dear Sir, 

Your note was received on Sunday. Enclosed I send you a draft for 
the fifty dollars. 

Intelligence by the last mail from California is very favourable. I 
send you the Intelligencer of today with a marked page, altho' you 
will have noticed that item in other papers. The Intelligencer contains 
a fair summary of what I see in the Californian.' 

I have heard by letter at second hand by Mr. McG from his Son at 
the Mariposas,' that a piece of rock was broken from my vein contain- 
ing several pounds of Gold in one mass. 

This, in fact is only what we, from analogy have good reason to 
expect, as the condition of the rock. Very truly yours, 

J. C. Fremont 

Copy in Hoffman v. Fremont, Statement, pt. I (NHi — David Hoffman 

L The National Intelligencer, 28 May 1850, noted that the newly created city 
in the gold diggings — Mariposa City — had been surveyed by C. Armstrong, fif- 
teen to twenty stores were established, a hotel was operating, 1,500 people were 
in the gulch and 3,000 settled nearby. While operations on the Fremont vein had 
not yet commenced, it predicted a "rich harvest," since several fragments broken 
from the veins appeared "high grade." 


2. "Mr. McG" is probably Edward McGehee, father of Micajah. A brother 
had written Micajah that their father had seen JCF in Washington "and heard 
from him a vague account of your suffering" (C. G. McGehee to Micajah McGe- 
hee, 26 June 1850, LU — James Stewart McGehee Papers, 2:237-41). 

78. Fremont to Charles E Mayer 

Washington City, May 30, 1850 
Dear Sir, 

I have just received your note of yesterday, and send you imme- 
diately the enclosed note to Mr. Hoffman.' 

We have been successful with our Bill for a mint at San Francisco, 
together with an Assayer's office ad interim, in the Senate, and we 
have not any doubt of its success in the House." 

I will forward you all I hear of interest in relation to California & 
remain Yours very truly, 

J. C. Fremont 
Mr. Mayer 

ALS (NNPM). Endorsed. 

1. See Doc. No. 76. 

2. It was to be two more years before a bill to establish a branch mint at San 
Francisco would pass both houses of Congress {Congressional Globe, 32nd Cong., 
1st sess., 23 June 1852, p. 1602). The mint began operations on 3 April 1854 
(cross, 1:142). 

79. Abbott Lawrence to Fremont 

London, May 31st, 1850 
Dear Sir, 

On the 27th Inst., I had the honor to receive from the President of 
the Royal Geographical Society ' the Founder s Medal, which was 
awarded to you by the Council of that Society, for your pre-eminent 
services in promoting the cause of Geographical Science. The Meet- 
ing was public, and the reasons for according the Medal to you were 


set forth with ability by the President. It became my duty to reply on 
your behalf which I did very briefly.' The proceedings of the Meeting 
will be published at an early day, when I shall transmit a copy to you. 
I assure you that I feel a proud satisfaction in having the opportunity 
of being present at the Annual Meeting of the Society, and receiving 
this complimentary testimonial of merit to a citizen of the United 
States,^ who has done so much not only in the cause of science, but in 
every department of duty to which he has been called to promote the 
honor of his country. 

It is my fervent hope that your life may be long spared to enjoy 
your well earned fame in Science, and that your success in your new 
and high position may be commensurate with the name and fame 
acquired by arduous labor in your brief, but brilliant career. I am dear 
sir, Most faithfully. Your Serv, 

Abbott Lawrence 
P.S. I have sent the Medal to the Secretary of State. 

ALS (James S. Copley Collection, La JoUa, Calif.). 

1. A founder of the Royal Geographical Society, geologist Roderick Impley 
Murchison (1792-1871) was its president at the time of the award to JCF. 

2. The Copley Collection contains the manuscript of Abbott Lawrence's reply. 

3. The first American to receive the society's gold medal was Charles Wilkes 
in 1849. 

80. Fremont to Christian and David Keener 

Washington City, June 1, 1850. 

I have just received your letter of yesterday, asking some informa- 
tion relative to a mine formerly owned by the Santa Clara mining 
Asscn.' In reply I have to inform you that Quicksilver ore of a very 
rich quality has been found and is known to exist at several places in 
the range which contains Forbes' mine.^ A new mine has been re- 
cendy opened on the road from San Jose to Monterey, and about 7 
miles from the former place.^ The ore in this mine, which was being 
worked when I was last there in Deer, last, is said to be of the same 
quality as Forbes'. The Santa Clara mine [i.e., the Guadalupe Mine] 
so far as I know its locality lies between the two [i.e., the New Al- 


maden and San Juan Bautista], and although I have not its exact lo- 
caHty, I have no doubt that it is of the same quaHty as the others/ 
They are all within a few miles of each other, in the same mountain,^ 
and I suppose are all pretty much alike. I have never had any occasion 
to examine the title, but that is one of the oldest setded sections of the 
country, the titles are in my opinion good, and will doubtlessly be 

Any further information that I may have is at your service & I re- 
main yours respectfully, 

J. C. Fremont. 
To Messrs Christian & David Keener, 
Baltimore, Md. 

ALS (Honnold Library, Claremont, Calif.) Endorsed. The Keeners have not 
been identified. 

1. The mine referred to is probably the Guadalupe, which was owned by the 
Santa Clara Mining Association of Baltimore (hall, 414). 

2. "Forbes' mine" is a reference to the New Almaden Mine. By 1850 Alexan- 
der Forbes, British vice-consul at Tepic, Mexico, had acquired controlling inter- 
est in this extraordinarily rich mine, which was situated about four miles south- 
east of the Guadalupe (k. m. johnson, 24-25). 

3. The "new mine" to which JCF refers is the San Juan Bautista, located on 
the floor of the valley and isolated from all other mountainous formations. It was 
really about four or five miles, rather than seven, from San Jose (information 
from Clyde Arbuckle of San Jose, Calif.). 

4. No quicksilver mine in the area was as rich as the New Almaden. 

5. The mines were not in the same mountain. 

81. Fremont to John M. Clayton 

Washington City, June 10th 1850 
To THE Secretary of State, 

I respectfully ask leave to bring to the notice of the Department the 
name of Mr. Edward E Beale as a suitable person to be appointed 
the United States Marshal for California. Mr. Beale's well known 
courage and energy, together with the great popularity among the 
people, would make his appointment a peculiarly fit one. His la- 
borious services and heroic conduct in California and the Indian 


country entitle him to the consideration of the government, while his 
appointment would be serviceable to the State and gratifying to his 
numerous friends, and most especially to myself 

Requesting that you will at the proper time lay this application be- 
fore the President, I am very respectfully Sir, your obedt. servt., 

J. C. Fremont 

Mr. Benton, from a personal knowledge of Mr. Beale and of his great 
merits and fitness, joins in this recommendation. 

ALS (DNA: Letters of Application and Recommendation during the Ad- 
ministration of James Polk, Zachary Taylor and Millard Fillmore, 1845-53, Mi- 
crocopy No. M-873, Roll 30). Endorsed: "Cont'd." On the same day JCF wrote 
President Taylor about Beale and on 3 Sept. wrote the new Secretary of State, 
Daniel Webster, on Beale's suitability for the marshalship of California (ibid.). 

82. Fremont to Jacob R. Snyder 

Washington City, June 11, 1850 
My dear Major, 

I drop you a line this morning to say that nothing in the shape of a 
vote has yet been had. Col. Benton made a strong speech yesterday, 
and I think that the Compromise Bill cannot possibly pass. I send you 
several copies of his speech.' 

I will write every day till I know you have left and telegraph if any 
thing of interest occurs. Yours very truly, 

J. C. Fremont 
Major Snyder, 
New York 

Copy (Society of California Pioneers — Jacob Rink Snyder Papers). 

1. Benton's anticompromise speech of 10 June 1850 was delivered in connec- 
tion with his motion to postpone Henry Clay's omnibus bill until the sitting of 
the next Congress and was printed in a fifteen-page pamphlet for public circula- 
tion. JCF was a poor prophet; by mid-September all the bills known as the 
Compromise of 1850 had passed, and he and Gwin were able to take their seats 
as California's senators on 11 Sept. 1850. 


83. David Hoffman to Fremont 

41 Conduit St., Hanover Square, London, 12 June 1850. 

[Hoffman has read the papers submitted to him by Richard Robert 
and ascertained from him "your probable views and wishes in regard 
to the important and very responsible trust you have reposed in us, 
which I shall endeavor to execute with all faithfulness, zeal, and 

The papers are in a more crude state than Englishmen were accus- 
tomed to seeing, but Hoffman would prepare other papers, and 
perhaps a more formal power of attorney for JCF's approval or 

He will also prepare a short statement for a few gentlemen- 
capitalists whom he hopes to interest in organizing a joint-stock com- 
pany. Presently the market is very slow, but he is confident "that so 
fresh and really brilliant an enterprise" in time will be received kindly 
by them. Signed copy.] 

84. Fremont to Pierson B. Reading 

Washington, 15 June 1850. 

[Requests his friendly offices "for a gentleman now in California," 
Cantine Hoes, a nephew of President Van Buren. ALS (C). Ad- 
dressed to Reading in Sacramento. According to the 1850 U.S. Census 
for California, the twenty-nine-year-old Hoes was mining in Cala- 
veras County.] 

85. John M. Clayton to Fremont 

Department of State 
Washington, June 15, 1850 
My dear Sir: 

I have the honor, to enclose, herewith, an extract ' from a despatch 
received at this Department, yesterday, from the Hon: Abbott Law- 


rence, our Minister in London, from which you will perceive that the 
Royal Geographical Society has awarded you the "founders medal" 
for the distinguished services, which you have rendered to Geograph- 
ical Science. 

The messenger, who bears you this letter, will also deliver you the 

It affords me pleasure to be the immediate instrument in conveying 
to you this high tribute of respect, so well earned by the valuable and 
distinguished services, which you have rendered, not only to your own 
country, but to the whole scientific world. I am, sir, very sincerely & 
truly, yours, 

J. M. Clayton 
Hon: J. C. Fremont 

ALS (James S. Copley Collection, La JoUa, Calif.). JCFs reply, 25 June 1850, 
with signature torn away, is in the DLC — John M. Clayton Papers, 9:1744. 
1. Not printed. 

86. Fremont to Cyrus Powers 

Washington City, June 16, 1850 
Dear Sir, 

Yours of the 13th is just received. I have been engaged, as the article 
you send me says, in making leases to companies of certain trusts of 
land for a term of years, they paying to me one sixth of the gold ob- 
tained from their mining operations. Until we have further advice we 
are not able to say whether the leases already made will, or will not, 
cover the veins. But if you desire it, such an arrangement might be 
made as would give you the right to mine on my land, if there remain 
sufficient extent of vein open. With acknowledgements for your good 
wishes I am respectfully yours, 

J. C. Fremont 
Dr. Cyrus Powers 
Moravia, [N.Y.] 

ALS (MHi — C. E. French Collection). Cyrus Powers has not been identified. 


87. Fremont to A. M. Auguste Moxhet 

Washington City, 17 June 1850 
Dear Sir, 

I have the honor to acknowledge receipt of your letter of the 14th 
of this month concerning the project proposed to me by Mr. Colson ' 
which has as its aim the sending of a group of Belgian miners to 

I, myself, at the present moment am preoccupied with a similar 
idea and I am going to make the initial preparations to begin our 
operations in the Spring of 1851. 

I am willing to enter into an arrangement with Mr. Colson, and 
since, he proposes to come to California, I shall be delighted to meet 
with him. Agreez, etc. 

J. C. Fremont 

Translated from the French as printed in Journal des Mineurs Beiges Compag- 
nie (Paris), 20 June 1851. Copy of the newspaper may be found in the Hoffman 
Papers. A. M. Moxhet was consul-general of Belgium in New York. 

1. Presumably the Mr. Colson referred to by Robert in his 29 July 1851 letter 
to JCF (Doc. No. 147). Jean-Nicolas Perlot, who had been associated with the 
bankrupt French company La Fortune, noted that a Belgian by the name of Col- 
son had arrived on the Mariposa two days earlier than he. He had a fine new 
greatcoat, nicely polished boots, neatly combed hair, and was freshly shaven 
(Howard Lamar's manuscript "Jean Nicolas Perlot, Gold Seeker: Adventures of 
a Belgian Argonaut in California and Oregon . . .," 247-49). 

88. Fremont to Orlando Brown 

Washington City, June 17. 1850 


I have to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 14th. instant, 
and take pleasure in replying to your enquiries, according to my 

Within the State of California, to which exclusively I understand 
your letter to refer, there are probably forty thousand indians. These 
consist of very numerous, and small tribes, speaking many different 
languages and dialects of the same language; are much broken up 

1 66 

and probably intermixed; so that, in making a distribution, the agen- 
cies cannot now be assigned to particular tribes. Leaving the tribes 
entirely out of consideration, the country should be divided into sec- 
tions, to be placed under the control of respective agencies. Of these 
there should be three, having at their disposal eight subagents; all 
under the direction of a superintendent, and to be distributed as 
follows, viz: 

The superintendent to reside at Sacramento City, or some other 
central point, from which the agencies could be conveniently fur- 
nished with supplies. 

A principle [sic] agent to be stationed at or near "Readings rancho" 
in the head of the lower Sacramento valley, having under his supervi- 
sion the entire Sacramento valley, comprehending all the country 
drained by its numerous branches; and having at his disposal three 
subagents. These could be pushed into the Upper Sacramento valley, 
among the mountains below the Sierra Nevada, and across that range 
into communication with the Indians of the Basin. 

The Indians of the coast country lying north of San Francisco Bay 
might be placed under the care of a subagent, resident at Sonoma, 
and reporting directly to the superintendent at Sacramento City. 

A second agent should be established at or near King's river of the 
Tulare lake, having under his supervision the entire valley of the San 
Joaquin river & the lakes, and including the mountains, within the 
State, on both sides of the Sierra Nevada. Within this section the In- 
dian population is large, and would require that three subagents be 
placed at the disposal of the agent. 

The remaining country, extending to the southern line, should be 
under the supervision of a third agent, resident at Los Angeles, and 
having at his disposal two subagents, with whom he would be able to 
control the strong mountain tribes of that section, and extend his su- 
pervision to the Colorado river & mouth of the Gila. 

For his services the superintendent should receive a salary of three 
thousand dollars, each agent two thousand and upwards, and each 
subagent fifteen hundred dollars. 

These indians are generally docile, in greater part already disposed 
by missionary teaching and their mode of subsisting, to agricultural 
labor. Simple farming materials; grain and other seeds; stock, horses 
& catde; provisions, blankets and light readymade clothing, would be 
among the presents most suitable to them at the present time. 

These suggestions appear briefly to meet the points of your enqui- 


ries. They grow out of my knowledge of the country, and may indi- 
cate to you a plan best suited to the condition of the indians and the 
character of the country. With this note I send you a map ' on which 
you will find marked the boundaries of the state and the sectional 
divisions recommended for the location of agencies. Very respectfully, 
Your obedt. servt. 

J. C. Fremont 
Orlando Brown, Esqre., 
Commissioner Indn. Affairs, Washington City. 

ALS (DNA-75, California F-159, LR 1850). Endorsed. 
1. Map was not found. 

89. Fremont to J. J. Abert 

Washington City, June 18. 1850 

Dear Sir, 

I would be much indebted to you if you can have Chapman paid. 
He left me at the Dalles of Columbia, no account has ever been pre- 
sented for him, and he did good service while with me. His name is 
recorded in the list of the party near beginning of the published Re- 
port of that expedition. Very respectfully yours, 

J. C. Fremont 
Col. Abert 

ALS (DNA-77, LR). Endorsed. 

L A member of JCF's second expedition, Manuel Chapman settled in Oregon. 

90. Fremont to Daniel A. Baldwin 

Washington City, June 22, 1850 
Dear Sir, 

Yours of yesterday is received. I send today the Report of Mr. Jones ' 
as you request. I am glad to learn that you design pushing into the 

1 68 

field at once, & think that in doing so you protect your own interests. 
Some very active men, with large capital, have lately taken leases & 
are sending out machinery immediately by the Isthmus, & go them- 
selves by first steamer. Of those Werth & Co. of Richmond go on the 
28th.' I have received an account of cost transportation of Stocktons 
machinery. It weighed 13000 lbs, & Mr. Beale wrote me from Cruces^ 
that he was getting on well, & would have the machinery at the Mari- 
posas in six weeks. Freight from San Francisco to Mariposas is vary- 
ing, & gradually lessening. Our agents at San Francisco & Mariposas 
will give you the best suggestions. I believe you have letters to them 
but forget. Yours truly, 

J. C. Fremont 
D. A. Baldwin, Esqre. 
New York 

ALS (James S. Copley Collection, La joUa, Calif.)- Daniel A. Baldwin had 
obtained a lease from JCF on 30 May 1850, and his mine, known as "Baldwin's 
Mme," was located and surveyed on 20 Nov. 1850 by Robert S. King. The mine 
was in Missouri Gulch about three-fourths of a mile west of the city of Mariposa. 
Baldwin subsequendy sold the property to the Nouveau Mining Company 
(Prospectus, Nouveau Mining Company, London, Nov. 1851). 

1. See Doc. No. 47, n. 1. William Carey Jones's 136-page report on California 
land titles was dated 10 April 1850 and published as Senate Ex. Doc. 18, 31st 
Cong., 2nd sess., Serial 589. 

2. With some money supplied by J. R. Anderson of the Tredegar Company, 
John J. Werth took an engine (another was supplied to him later) and men, in- 
cluding a Negro, Manuel O'Moery [?], and sailed for California. He met his son, 
William H. Werth, and together they located a mine on the Fremont or Mari- 
posa Vein. When results proved disappointing, Werth moved to Agua Fria and 
eventually gave up altogether. He then wrote a series of articles for the Alta Cali- 
fornia, which JCF, Beale, and others persuaded him to put in a more permanent 

form. The result was A Dissertation on the Resources and Policy of California (Be- 
nicia, Calif.: St. Clair and Pinkham, 1851). Anderson lamented that he had en- 
gaged in the cosdy enterprise of shipping men and machinery to California be- 
fore first sending Werth to survey the situation (J. R. Anderson to Werth, 18 and 
29 June, 23 Aug., 23 Nov. 1850, 24 March, 21 April 1851, Tredegar Company 
Letter Books, Vi; Mariposa County Census [1850], p. 57). 

"Worth's Mine" is shown on an 1852 map issued by the Nouveau Mining 
Company and on Thomas Denny Sargent's sketch map of the Mariposa in the 
Hoffman Papers; mining claims filed in Mariposa County give "Worth's Mine," 
"Worth's Vein," and "Worth's & Co." as reference points. This editor thinks that 
all are references to John J. Werth's operations on the Agua Fria, but it should be 
noted that Henry C. Worth, born in Nantucket in 1815, sailed to California with 
George W Wright. The latter, on returning from his mission to sell mines in 
London, paid Worth $3,691.80 for specimens, indicating that somehow and 
somewhere Henry C. Worth had acquired gold-bearing quartz rock (Setdement 


between G. W. Wright and Hiram Walbridge [1851], and 27 June 1841 receipt 
of H. C. Worth, M. A. Goodspeed, Jr., Collection). The California Census for 
1850 (roll 28, p. 800) lists Worth as a merchant in Coloma, which is the settle- 
ment that developed around Sutter's Fort after the discovery of gold by John 
Marshall. It was 200 miles from the Mariposa. 

3. At the mouth of the Chagres River in New Granada, vessels from the East 
Coast often unloaded their California-bound passengers, who would paddle by 
small boat to Cruces, where they hoped to find mules and guides to lead them 
the rest of the way to the City of Panama, where they would again embark on a 
ship (niemeier, 1). 

91. Fremont to Sir Roderick Murchison 

Washington City, June 22, 1850 

I have had the gratification to receive, through the hands of the 
American Minister and the Secretary of State, the honourable medal 
with which the Royal Geographical Society has distinguished me. 

In making my acknowledgments for this high testimonial of ap- 
probation, I feel it a particular pleasure that they are rendered to a 
society which I am happy to recognize as my alma mater, to the notice 
of whose eminent members I am already indebted for much gratifica- 
tion, and in whose occasional approval I have found a reason and a 
stimulus for continued exertion. I deem myself highly honored in 
having been considered a subject for the exercise of a national cour- 
tesy, and in being made one of the thousand links among the associa- 
tions and cordial sympathies which unite our kindred nations. 

With feelings of high respect and regard for yourself, I am, sir, very 
respectfully, your obedient servant, 

J. C. Fremont 
To Sir Roderick Murchison, 
President of the Royal Geographical Society, London 

ALS (James S. Copley Collection, La Jolla, Calif). Also printed in bigelow, 


92. Fremont to Buckingham Smith 

Washington City June 26, 1850 
Dear Sir, 

In the press of occupation I have accidently delayed to acknowledge 
yours of the 24th inst. At such time as best suits your convenience I 
will esteem it a favor to hear the reading of the manuscript ' you de- 
scribe, and am very respectfully Yours, 

J. C. Fremont 
Buckingham Smith Esqr. 
National [Hotel] 
Washington city. 

ALS (DLC— Peter Force Papers). 

1. Possibly the manuscript was Smiths translation, published the next year in 
Washington, of Alvar Nunez Cabe^a de Vaca s odyssey through the interior of 
Florida, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and northern Mexico between 1527 and 
1535. De Vaca's account is unparalleled in the history of exploration and would 
have appealed to JCF. 

93. Fremont to Charles E Mayer 

Washington City 
June 29th. 1850 
My Dear Sir: 

I received last night your note accompanying the letters from 
Mr. Hoffman & Mr. Robert. 

I was disappointed in their contents. I know very litde about for- 
mation of Stock companies generally, & less still of their formation in 
England, but Mr. Robert expected when he left that this business of 
ours would be a simple affair, & concluded in time for him to return 
by the end of August. 

We spoke of arranging for him to meet me at that time at Chagres. 

In this Country Companies are formed, & men & machinery on 
their way to California & all in two months time under crews. Besides 
the increase of expenditure occasioned, I may suffer losses in various 


ways by the delay & certainly am in some. On the whole it seems to 
me best to abandon the enterprise. 

You are all aware that the additional safeguards they require are 
impossible. As to procuring any action of Congress upon the subject, 
it is entirely out of the question. 

I cannot think of leaving the property derelict while the subject is 
undergoing long discussion in England and it is certainly advisable 
that I should immediately make arrangements in this country for 
sending out machinery & commencing operations myself 

I shall not leave this City during the coming week, & should you 
come here, I will be very glad to see you. Very truly yours, 

J. C. Fremont 

Copy (NHi — David Hoffman Papers). This letter importing stay of proceed- 
ings was revoked by letters of 25 and 28 July. JCF s 29 June letter was a reply 
through Mayer to Hoffman's 12 June letter, which had noticed the inactivity in 
the market. 

94. Robert M. Patterson to Fremont 

Mint of the United States. 
Philadelphia, July 3d. 1850 
Dear Sir, 

I thank you for recalling my attention to the proposed establish- 
ment of an Assay Office in California. When you first requested our 
views with regard to it, the subject was referred to our Assayers here. 
They have given it attention, and have consulted with Dr. Farnum, 
who is now here. They promise to give me their views in a short time, 
and their conclusions shall be communicated to you. Very respectfully 
and truly yours. 

R. M. Patterson 

Hon. H. C. Fremont, 

SC (DNA-104, Records of the U.S. Mint at Philadelphia, General 


95. Fremont to Mr. Gray 

Washington City, July 3, 1850 
My dear Sir, 

I very much regretted that I did not see you before you left, as I had 
much to say to you. I enclose a letter to my brother-in-law, Mr. Jones 
which is of particular importance, and will be gready obliged to you 
to deliver it to him.' 

I have promised Mr. Jones to send him some members of my por- 
trait contained in a recent number of the National Gallery." Can you 
find room in your trunk for a dozen of them? If you can, please call at 
Brady's Daguerreotype Rooms, No. 205 Broadway, and ask either 
Mr. Brady, or Mr. Lester for them. This note will be a sufficient or- 
der to enable you to procure them. I will send you before you leave N. 
York several other letters & newspapers for our friends in Calfornia. 

Sometime in September I shall have the pleasure to see you there, & 
in the meantime I remain very truly yours, 

J. C. Fremont 

Mr. Gray, 
at New York 

Please drop me a line to let me know if you receive this letter in order 
that I may not have any anxiety about it. 

ALS (NN — Miscellaneous Papers). Addressed and endorsed. "Mr. Gray" 
not identified. 

1. JCF's letter to his brother-in-law, William Carey Jones, not found. 

2. C. Edwards Lester's literary interest in JCF, expressed in Doc. Nos. 62, 72, 
and 73, had borne fruit. The explorer was one of "twenty-four of the most emi- 
nent citizens of the American republic, since the death of Washington" which 
the triumvirate — Lester, Mathew B. Brady, and F. D'Avignon — photographed 
and wrote about under the title The Gallery of Illustrious Americans (New York, 
1850). Since there was no museum in America at the time with the name "Na- 
tional Gallery," JCF may have had in mind a lavish compilation of portrait prints 
known as The National Portrait Gallery of Distinguished Americans, which James 
Longacre and James Herring had begun issuing in 1834. 


96. David Hoffman to Fremont 

41 Conduit Street, London, 5 July 1850. 

[Writes of his plans to present the Mariposa estate to the British 
capitalists, notes how unacquainted the public is with California and 
how many — even Sir Charles Lyell and Sir Roderick Murchison — 
are striving to convince that the gold in California is confined to the 
surface and will soon be exhausted. His first interview with capitalists 
is on 19 July. He is forwarding three papers under the title of The 
Messenger and especially recommends that JCF look for an item in the 
"Varieties" column in the third paper. Signed copy.] 

97. Robert M. Patterson to Fremont 

Mint of the United States 
Philadelphia, July 6, 1850 
Dear Sir, 

In my note to you of the 3d inst., I stated that the subject of an 
Assay Office in California had been referred by me to our Assayers 
for their judgment. They have now sent to me a communication of 
which a copy is enclosed. 

I have to add to it only my conviction that Dr. Farnum is pecu- 
liarly suited as the Agent of Government for carrying this Assay ob- 
ject into execution. He is thoroughly practiced in assaying, and, by his 
residence in California, is well acquainted with the means of acting 
there. He is now in Philadelphia, but is about going to Europe, where 
he intends to stay only for a short time. If he can be charged with the 
arrangements required for the Assay Office, he could gain many ad- 
vantages by his presence in England particularly. 

R. M. P. 


[6 July 1850] 

In reply to Col. Fremont of July 1. Memorandum from the Assayers of 
the Mint 


John C. Fremont as he looked in 1850. Daguerreotype by Brady, 

engraved by D'Avignon. Courtesy of the National 

Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution. 



George Washington Wright. From a print in Walter 

Colton's The Land of Gold; or, Three Years in 

California (New York, 1860). 


We were engaged in preparing a bill, with Dr. Farnum's aid, for 
the establishment of an assay office in Gala, when the rapid and deci- 
sive action of the Senate, upon Col. Benton's amendments to the N.Y. 
bill, seemed to supersede our plan. This is the reason why no commu- 
nication has been made. 

On the whole, the provisions proposed by Col. B. appear to be ap- 
propriate & practicable, and there was much wisdom in providing for 
an Assay Office as precedent to a branch mint. Two suggestions only 
appear to be necessary, and they refer to the Assay Office. 

1. To give it public confidence, and to make it duly responsible, it 
ought to be subject to the regulation and control of the Director of the 
Mint, as well as the Secretary of the Treasury, thus putting it in the 
attitude of an office subsidiary to the Mint. 

2. It should be provided "that the bars melted and assayed at the 
Assay Office, shall have their weight, fineness and value stamped 
upon them, the value to be at the same rate as is provided by law in 
the gold coin of the United States, but without respect to the silver 
contained; and the said bars shall be receivable for public dues in any 
part of the United States, and for debts or contracts in California and 
Oregon; provided, that it shall be lawful to refuse to melt and assay 
any less quantity of gold than fifty ounces." 

This limit is of course referred to Col. E's judgment. If it be much 
less, the labour & expense of the office will probably be too great a 
burden, and will only cause miners and others to get into the practice 
of carrying their little parcels to the office as soon as they reach 
the limit; which thing is, as we are informed, much practised at 

SC, initialed (DNA-104, Records of the U.S. Mint at Philadelphia, General 

1. Dahlonega is a small gold mining and sawmilling city in the northern part 
of Georgia. It was settled in 1829 with the opening of the mines and from 1836 
to 1861 had a U.S. Mint. 

98. Fremont to Robert M. Patterson 

Washington City, July 9, 1850 
My dear Sir, 

I have to thank you for the notes relative to a law for assayers of the 
mint, which with your letter were duly received. 


The amendment offered by Coi. Benton to the New York Mint 
Bill was offered in the shape least objectionable, in order not to pro- 
voke debate, as any new thing would.' We have it in our power, after- 
wards, to modify and amend. I fully concur in your views in regard to 
Dr. Farnum, to whom I have always looked as a most suitable person 
for the management of our mint. I will act in the matter as early as I 
can do so efficiently, & remain Yours truly, 

}. C. Fremont 
Dr. Patterson 
Director of U.S. Mint, 

ALS (DNA-104, Records of the U.S. Mint at Philadelphia, General 

1. The original bill had simply provided for a branch mint in New York City. 
The amendment offered by Benton would also establish a branch in San Fran- 
cisco Congressional Globe, 31st Cong., 1st sess., 4 and 22 Jan., 24 May 1850, 
pp. 103,210, 1063). 

99. William M. Gwin, Edward Gilbert, and 

Fremont to John Bidwell and 

Henry A. Schoolcraft 

Washington, D.C. 
July 24, 1850 

The undersigned take great pleasure in acknowledging the receipt 
of the block of gold-bearing quartz and accompanying specimens, 
destined as the tribute of our young and cherished State to mark her 
interest in the fame and glory of the "Father of his Country," and her 
desire to perpetuate his great name and virtues so far as earthly mon- 
uments can accomplish that object.' 

The undersigned also acknowledge the receipt of a communication 
from Peter H. Burnett, Esq., the Governor of the State of California, 
enclosing a copy of the Joint Resolutions passed by the Legislature in 
relation to this subject. And they beg that you will be pleased to for- 
ward to His Excellency the accompanying letter of acknowledgment. 


The undersigned have the honor to inform you that they will at 
once take the necessary steps, under the direction of the National 
Monument Association, to have the wishes of the citizens of our State 
fulfilled, according to the instructions contained in the Joint Resolu- 
tions of our Legislature. 

It is proper the undersigned should state that the Hon. George W. 
Wright" is absent from the city at the present moment; and that we 
have no doubt that it will be a source of regret to him, as it is to us, 
that he is not enabled to join us in this pleasing duty. We have the 
honor to be With Sentiments of high esteem, Your Obdt. Servants, 

Wm. M. Gwin 

Edw. Gilbert 

J. C. Fremont 

To Messrs. John Bidwell and Henry A. Schoolcraft, Committee 
Washington, D.C. 

LS (C). Endorsed with the notation that it was "reed. July 1st, 1851" — almost 
a year later than the date of the letter. One of California's two congressional 
representatives, Edward Gilbert was the editor of the Alta California . He was 
killed in a duel with James Denver in 1852. A senator in the first state legisla- 
ture and one of the best-known pioneers of northern California, John Bidwell 
(1819- 1900) had been closely associated with John A. Sutter until he left his em- 
ployment to mine on Feather River. Henry A. Schoolcraft, too, had been an 
employee of Sutter's. His death occurred at sea in 1853 when he was returning to 
California with an appointment as collector of Sacramento (pioneer register). 

1. In his 25 July 1850 letter to Hoffman, JCF says the block of quartz came 
from "his place " (Doc. No. 100). Although perhaps not formally rejected by the 
Washington Monument Society, California's representatives and other citizens in 
Washington decided that this particular block of quartz was "unworthy" of the 
state, and the legislature was asked to furnish a suitable specimen. Acting under 
its authority. Governor John Bigler procured three pieces of different shades, 
representative of the three different periods in California history. Fire in Sacra- 
mento destroyed two, but the third, in Bigler's words, was "beautiful" (Journals 
of the California Legislature, 1st sess. [1850], 28 Jan. -2 Feb., 7-11 Feb.; 4th sess. 
[1853], Governor's message to the Assembly, 3 Jan.). 

2. George W. Wright (1816-85) was California's other elected representative. 
A native of Concord, Mass., he had spent the summer of 1849 traversing the 
foothills of the Sierra Nevada from the Feather River to the Mariposa collecting 
specimens of gold-bearing quartz. He was one of the four founders of the San 
Francisco banking firm of Palmer, Cook & Company and for many years was to 
be closely associated with JCF in business matters and to have great influence on 
him (biog. dir. gong, and documents in this volume). 


100. Fremont to David Hoffman 

Washington City, July 25, 1850 
My dear Sir, 

Since the receipt of your first letter I have been waiting for other 
advices from you in order to see if there was any probability of 
prompt action upon the enterprise in which I desired to engage. 
When Mr. Robert went out to England it was understood & believed 
by us, certainly by me, that an association for working mineral lands 
could be formed immediately. It was understood that Mr. Robert 
should endeavor so to arrange the business as to meet me about the 
20th August at Chagres where I should be on my way to California. I 
designed by the aid of the capital of the association forthwith to put a 
large working force upon the place, to be occupied in blasting & ex- 
cavating work, and to erect immediately such machinery as might be 
at hand, until better could be procured from England. It did not oc- 
cur to me to imagine that any difficulty was to be met in the in- 
credulity of British capitalists as to the notorious fact of the existence 
of valuable mines on the Mariposas. My object was to procure the 
means of prompt, & strong action upon the premises, and for this end 
I was willing to associate others with myself & divide the results. If 
this object could not be accomplished, then there existed no reason for 
a connexion with British capitalists. Your letters, written shortly sub- 
sequent to Mr. Roberts arrival, at once almost entirely destroyed all 
such expectations. I therefore immediately proceeded to take or rather 
prosecute other measures which I had held in abeyance. 

As Mr. Robert is aware, previously to his leaving this place I had 
executed leases to Commodore Stockton & some other parties, for cer- 
tain small portions of the mining land. These leases I now continued 
to grant until the present day, when such are held by about seventeen 
different parties, with heavy capital, who go out with machinery, 
men, wagons, provisions, and every thing necessary to commence im- 
mediate operations. Stockton & Aspinwall's ' machinery must be today 
upon the ground, probably that of others, and by the recent steamers 
the machinery &c. of other parties left New York, to be transported 
across the Isthmus of Panama, on the way to the mine.' 

Now, it is to be remarked that the ground covered by these leases, 
occupies but a small portion of my domain; perhaps what they hold 
may be about 3600 yards in length by 200 yds. in breadth, in all. I have 


for the present stopt [sic] here and will do nothing more until I return 
to California. 

In the meantime new discoveries are constantly being made upon 
the place, and from the exploring [party] which I sent there I expect 
interesting reports in August.^ A block of gold bearing quartz, sent by 
the state of California to form a stone in the national monument now 
being erected to Washington accompanied by some rich specimens of 
ore, came from my place.'' That you may see the development now 
being made of the gold veins throughout the state, I enclose you a 
piece cut from the Nat. Intelligencer of today, and send you also sev- 
eral California newspapers." You will at once see how extensive are 
these gold mines, and how immense the results are to be. And you 
will likewise understand how utterly impossible it is for me to wait. I 
should be involved in collisions & interminable law suits were I longer 
to leave the land derelict in a densely peopled country. My interest 
absolutely requires me to cover the land with working parties this 
coming winter. We can be employed in fencing, putting up buildings, 
excavating ore &c. Our farming lands should be put under fence, and 
crops begun to be put in the ground in October. What I have here 
said will be sufficient to let you understand the actual position of 
things. Mr. Robert s recent letter speaks of the formation of the associ- 
ation as a thing to be favorably influenced by Mr. Andrew Smith's 
company going out to the Mariposas.*" That is looking far ahead. If 
any association is to be formed at all, it must of necessity be imme- 
diately. I understand clearly the difficulties with which you have had 
to contend, and understand the necessary caution with which the 
British capitalists advance. But we can only regret their want of 
knowledge, and take other measures. Later in the day such an associ- 
ation would be useless to me — there must always be a quid pro quo in 
matters of business. To conclude this part of my letter, I have to say 
that I will do nothing farther until I hear from you, except to autho- 
rize Mr. Robert to conclude the offered contract with Mr. Smith. 

We are constandy receiving intelligence which goes to confirm the 
extent and value of our mines. To people in England their extraordi- 
nary richness would seem incredible. I have to thank you, among 
other things, for the Report of the St. John del Rey Mining Com- 
pany.^ I found it very interesting. 

The quantity of ore stamped by that company in '49 would yield 
upon my place, and at the lowest result obtained from our ore by 
Dr. Patterson, nearly seventeen millions of dollars, and if we take the 


mean result per one year would be $1,215,000,000! And really, my 
dear Sir, if we judge of the work by what we have seen only, these 
results are not at all incredible, but this I would say to yourself only. 
My own opinion formed by what I saw and knew of the rock as far as 
we had opened it was, that it would yield about fifty cents to the 
pound of rock. This for the quantity of ore above cited would be 
69,000,000$ yearly. You ask in one of your letters something about a 
ball of gold weighing about two ounces, and which is among the 
specimens I sent you. Its history is this. When the vein on the Mari- 
posa was first opened about twenty five pounds of rock were given to 
an Indian to pound up, which he did as a day's work. The fragments 
of the rock were picked out, those which showed gold being taken, 
and those which did not, being rejected. After he had pounded the 
rock, the gold was collected from it by quicksilver. It was a day's work 
for the Indian, but of course rudely done. Still it may give a very good 
idea of the rock, as according to recent experiments the gold is dis- 
seminated entirely through the rock in minute, as well as grosser 

How would it do to organize a smaller company — something like 
what is proposed for himself by Mr. Smith? Say, several gentlemen of 
those you have mentioned who have abundant means, to be associated 
with me, and giving me a strong voice in the directing or managing 
the business, and making you also a director. I hold now, specially re- 
served, the point where I first opened the vein in sufficient extent and 
ground round about it, for carrying on very handsome and large op- 
erations. I would add to this say 500 acres of fertile land for cultiva- 
tion. If such an association of gentlemen can be formed, who will im- 
mediately send out some miners with some capable men at their head 
together with means to commence operations this fall, I think it 
might be the best thing to be done. We could then regard this com- 
pany as the nucleus of a more extended operation. I shall await your 
reply with some anxiety, and in the meantime beg you to receive my 
thanks for the friendly promptness with which you took charge of my 
interests in this matter, and for the zeal and ability you have brought 
to the task. With much regard I am very truly yours, 

J. C. Fremont 

ALS (NHi— David Hoffman Papers). Endorsed: "Received 12th Augt." 
1. The Mariposa County Records contain no record of a lease to Stockton & 
Aspinwall, but the company undoubtedly had one, or perhaps JCF's lease to 
Beale (mentioned in Doc. No. 138) formed the basis of operations. For notices of 


the operations and of their failure, see Doc. Nos. 156 and 166. Stocktons patent 
machinery was too light to work effectively the quartz of the Mariposa. 

2. In addition to Stockton & Aspinwall or Beale, JCF's seventeen parties un- 
doubtedly included Thomas Denny Sargent (Doc. No. 67); Daniel A. Baldwin 
(Doc. No. 90); John C. Clark and George W. Guthrie of Washington, D.C. 
(28 May 1850 lease referred to in their 5 Sept. 1851 lease, Mariposa County Rec- 
ords, Book 1, pp. 267-71); and Capt. William K. Smith, 3 July 1850 (referred to 
in the memorandum of agreement between David Hoffman and the Nouveau 
Monde Gold Mining Company, 8 Nov. 1851, M. A. Goodspeed, Jr., Collection). 
Hoffman's letter of 7 Feb. 1851 indicates that William K. Smith had two leases 
from JCF. This 7 Feb. 1851 letter also mentions a Thomas La Chausne as having 
a lease. 

3. He is referring to Heap and Edwards, who sailed from New York with 
William Carey Jones on 4 May. 

4. See Doc. No. 99. 

5. National Intelligencer, 25 July 1850 (quoting San Francisco Herald, 17 June 
1850), notes that gold quartz had been found near Los Angeles but, like that of 
the Mariposa, science and machinery were needed to get it out. 

6. The proprietor of twenty-six patents, Andrew Smith of London, whose 
occupation was listed as "Engineer," obtained a lease for auriferous and agri- 
cultural land on the Mariposa (lease of Hoffman [for JCF] to Smith, 31 Dec. 

1851, CSmH). Smith and his sons, William and Andrew, Jr., went out to Cali- 
fornia, and one of their claims is recorded in Mariposa County Records, Book 2, 
p. 179. Andrew Smith was also the promoter of the Golden Mountain of Mari- 
posa Mining Company of California, which was organized in Nov. 1851 with a 
capital stock of £50,000 and 50,000 shares (Hoffman to George Sutton, 29 Sept. 

1852, NHi; Papers of Golden Mountain of Mariposa Mining Company, CU-B, 
Film Z-Gl, Reel 58). 

7. The San Juan del Rey Mining Company worked the rich Morro Velho 
Mine in Brazil. 

101. Fremont to Richard Robert 

Washington City, July 28th. 1850 
My dear Sir, 

Your letter of the 5th Inst.' was received on the 26th. For my opin- 
ion as to what has been done, and what the actual position of things, 
makes it expedient to do, I refer you to my letter of this date to 
Mr. Hoffman and reply at once to that portion of your letter which 
refers to Mr. Andrew Smith. 

The account which you have previously given me of this gentle- 
man and occasional notice you sent me of his works, had satisfied me 
of his value and excited a strong desire to have him on my place. 

He no doubt would set up admirable works on the ground leased 


to himself, and to me his genius and knowledge would render the 
most valuable assistance. I therefore desire to make with him some 
such contract as that proposed, whether it would be agreeable to the 
contemplated Association or not. What we want is to develop the 
place with power and its value is now ascertained to be so great that 
once upon the ground Mr. Smith would be the very man to do it. 
And now as to the terms and before we go to that let me call your 
attention to what experiment gives us as our very lowest figure. 

Take Dr. Patterson s result obtained from the rock which exhibited 
no visible gold and which of necessity we consider our lowest figure. 
Take the quantity of ore, stamped in the year 1 849 at the Morro Velho 
Mine, 69,004.4 tons as the least quantity, which would be stamped 
yearly at such a mine as Mr. Smith would work and what is the result 
16,700,000 Dollars. 

Now in no case would I like the trouble of having anything to do 
with the net profits, and certainly not when the outlay bears so small a 
proportion to the product. My portion therefore must be of the gold 
produced, and this is a sine qua non. The leases I have already made 
are on these terms. The lease should provide that the day books be at 
all times subject to the inspection of myself or Agent, that if after 
being opened the mine should be left unworked in good faith for six 
consecutive months, the lease is forfeited thereby ipso facto. And that 
the lease shall also be forfeited if mining operations be not com- 
menced upon the ground in good faith within one year from its date. 

The mining lots which I have hitherto leased are 200 yards square, 
to be located upon the veins whatever the Lessee may choose. To 
Mr. Smith I am willing to give a parallelogram of 600 yds. by 200 yds. 
to be located as he may judge best upon the vein or lode and one 
hundred Acres of land, for cultivation, building houses, &c. which 
shall not be selected upon the mineral land, and the selection of which 
be subject to my approval. 

He shall of course be entitled to water privileges and to the use of 
timber for building purposes & fuel. 

These are the general terms. If he does not think a sufficient quan- 
tity of land is granted, we might afterwards go farther into the busi- 
ness, but this is all I can do now. Therefore if he desire to have such a 
lease and will take it and commence operations immediately, let him 
have it. But it must be immediately, as I shall go to California about 
the middle and last of September at farthest, and if this arrangement 


is made it ought to be before I go. He ought to take efficient steps at 
once, and either himself go out or send someone out about the time 
that I do in order to examine the ground, and select and take posses- 
sion of his ground this winter. These is abundance of preUminary 
work which he might do this winter, such as enclosing his mining lot, 
putting up buildings, excavating ore, and he might fence in (perhaps a 
wire fence is best) his farming ground and put in a crop which there 
ought to be done in October. 

And now for another subject. I foresee that I cannot wait the time 
required for the formation of the large Association, but will go into 
the business myself. If convenient for you, please immediately on the 
receipt of this see Mr. Smith, and ask him if he can get up for me a 
light steam engine, burning the smallest possible amount of fuel, to- 
gether with a stamping machine, amalgamator, &c. and to give me an 
estimate of the cost, and how much time it will require from receipt 
of the order until it be ready for shipment. Let it be on terms as eco- 
nomical as possible because my expenditures are heavy. I do not wish 
to sacrifice any property as I might be obliged to do before I can get 
this business started. 

And now to speak freely I have to say to you that I care litde about 
the large Association, or whether it is formed or not. According to 
what I can see it would not be possible for me to have that voice in the 
Directory without which I would not be willing to make it. But Mr. A. 
Smiths company pleases me, and I hope you will at once make an 
arrangement with him. In regard to what both yourself and Mr. Hoff- 
man have done, and the devoted and energetic manner in which you 
have applied your abilities to this business, I have to express my great 
satisfaction, and take pleasure in making you acknowledgements. 

In conclusion I have to inform you that intelligence from Califor- 
nia confirms our previous examinations and extends our knowledge. 
New discoveries are constandy being made, showing greater extent 
and proving its most extraordinary riches. My great anxiety is that we 
cover all my tract with working parties before the great value of the 
place become generally known and this I must make the first object & 
cannot wait. Please show to Mr. Hoffman. Yours truly. 

J. C. Fremont 

Copy (NHi — David Hoffman Papers). 
1. Not found. 


102. Fremont to Robert M. Patterson 

Washington City, July 30, 1850 
My dear Sir, 

I have here some tolerably large fragments of the gold bearing 
quartz, in which no gold is perceptible, and which would conse- 
quently give about the lowest product of the rock. There is no part of 
the rock belonging to the vein which is poorer in appearance than 
this. I have also a small specimen of slate, in which, I suspect the exis- 
tence of gold, and which I desired to ascertain. The object of this note 
is to ask whether or not the analyses of these specimens could be con- 
veniently made at the mint. I would be glad in forming an opinion of 
the productiveness of the quartz to have the authority of the mint to 
base myself upon, and I suppose that you yourself feel the same inter- 
est in these examinations. If it should be entirely convenient for you to 
have these analyses made, I would be glad to hear from you & remain 
with regard Yours truly, 

J. C. Fremont 
Dr. Patterson, 
Director of the Mint, 

ALS (DNA-104, Records of the U.S. Mint at Philadelphia, General Corre- 
spondence). Endorsed: "Reed. 31st & ansd. Aug. 3. Stating that the assayers un- 
dertake the task, with such time as their public duties will permit." 

103. Fremont to David HofFmar 

Washington City, August 5, 1850 
My dear sir, 

I have just received from Mr. Mayer a pacquet containing letters 
from yourself and Mr. Robert, of the dates July 20 and 19th respec- 
tively, & accompanied by certain documents.' 

In order to get an answer off by this afternoon mail to go by the 
Boston steamer of Wednesday, I answer immediately & necessarily 


Mr. Mayer gives me a resume of enquiries by yourself to points 
which he says you have much at heart, & to these I answer first. 

1. The plat, I forwarded by Mr. Robert, of the Mariposas Region, 
exhibits the whole of my domain in the San Joaquin Valley, containing, 

I. The "gold region" — 25 square miles 

II. The other three sections, named "valley," "middle," & "Hill." 
As you will see by the boundary line on the plat, the tract does not 

extend to the San Joaquin, but I am part owner of a league of land in 
that vicinity upon the San Joaquin.' A division of this could be made 
& my share be made available if thought proper. Or, a place much 
more eligible, & to which I have had my attention turned, as a good 
port for the Mariposa, could be secured by pre-emption, if we do not 
wait too long.^ You see that delay works against us in every way. But 
my own tract of sixty-seven squares miles certainly, in such a country, 
is abundandy large for a most noble enterprise. 
I now answer Mr. Roberts questions seriatim. 

1. "" The geographical situation of the property &€.'' Answered by the 
map of the Mariposas. 

2. "" Where and how situated with respect to water communication T 
Answered by the general map I gave to Mr. Robert, as being about 40 
miles from the San Joaquin, and about the same distance from a 
newly established town on the Merced or Auxumne river, at the head 
of good steamboat navigation. These distances understood to be from 
the place where the mine has been opened. 

3. "Af to the kinds of ore discovered^ Gold only has been discovered 
by me; silver has been reported to me by Mr. Lamartinie," an engi- 
neer whom I sent to examine the place. Quicksilver has been reported 
to me by my agent, and a specimen from the place exhibited to me by 
Mr. G. W. Wright, a representative elect from California to the U.S. 

4. "Af to quarries of freestone, limestone, &c" I cannot answer with 
certainty as to the kinds of stone. Sandstone I think there certainly is, 
probably limestone. There is very fine granite in the Sierra near, but I 
am not certain if there is any immediately on the place. There is clay 
& marl for making bricks &c. 

5. "" If well timbered (&-<:." It is well timbered & is in one of the finest 
timbered regions in America; oak, pine, juntperus Src. of course appH- 
cable to the usual purposes. 

6. 'With respect to soil &c" All good. The greater part of the very 
best kind, and lying well for cultivation. 


7. "What distance is the property from a sea port.'' The valley part of 
the property, say the western boundary of the estate, is 106 miles (by 
reckoning) from the seaport of Monterey, all land carriage. 

It is about 90 miles from Stockton, to which come three masted 
vessels — and about 170 miles from San Francisco, in both cases all of 
water with exception of the 10 or 15 miles. 

8. ''The extent of the vein, if easy of access, near to the surface, ^c." All 
very difficult to answer, requiring much exploration to answer with 
certainty. But, the vein was reported by Mr. Lamartinie as extending 
three miles. When I left California I had opened it in but one point. I 
believe that there are two other lines of veins parallel to this one, 
and my belief is formed from my own examination, & with myself 
amounts to a certainty. In the meantime daily accounts bring infor- 
mation of the great abundance of the ore. My own agents, sent spe- 
cially to make farther examination, and about whom or whose exam- 
inations Mr. Robert enquires, did not reach San Francisco until the 
20th of June. They had then to go to the Mariposas & make their 
examination before reporting & then it requires 35 days for their let- | 
ters from San Francisco to this. And in the mean time, and while we 
are enquiring about the existence of the ore, powerful companies are 
putting up their machinery on the place! 

9. ''With respect to stream washing &c.'' I did have a company of 
Sonoranians (they are good working men) at work last year, 28 in 
number. I gave them protection & provisions, and they gave me half 
the gold they obtained from the washings. The gross amount which 
they obtained from the washings was about one hundred pounds (in 
gold) per month. The stream washings belong to me, of course, & to 
nobody else. 

10. "As to the samples of ore S-c." I have none here, neither had I 
given direction to have any sent to me. I did not found my English 
operation on any thing so far ahead. If I should meet with any I will 
send them. 

11. "As to an advantageous position for laying off a town." There is 
one, highly advantageous, which we are hazarding by our delay. 

These were Mr. Roberts enquiries. I have answered them frankly. 
He seems to think that I had found fault with what had been done. 
By no means; it would have been very unjust. It was the prospect 
ahead which discouraged me, the apparent improbability of that in- 
stant action, that instant employment of men & capital (even a com- 
paratively small one) which would enable us to secure present advan- 


tages, to sweep on with the current, and to save myself from a long 
train of annoyance. You know well how slow is the action of the U.S. 
Congress, and you have present to your mind its tantalizing delays, 
ruinous to landholders, in its investigations of the Louisiana & Florida 
land. You will remember its unconstitutional & illegal acts. Against 
these delays I wish to protect myself by a full possession, co-extensive 
with the land. 

In the full possession & enjoyment of the property we should not 
care for their delays, knowing that when the Congress did take final 
action it could only be to confirm. Our tide is as legal a one as the 
Mexican Govt, could give, and was issued by Micheltorena in obe- 
dience and conformity to an express decree of the Mexican Congress 
& which you will find in the Report of Wm. Carey Jones, Esq. and of 
which Mr. Robert has a copy. I will send you a copy of the tide with 
the deraignment. You will now see, as in my recent letter I told you, 
that in the British negociation the advantage which I am to derive is 
mainly in the present application of men & money to the Mariposas. 
You will understand that my presence in the Congress as a member is 
important to the landholders of California. There (on the Mariposas, 
even with small means at the beginning) my presence would be inval- 
uable, and I would need an association. Away from it, the country 
new, the property new, the absolute necessity of making imposing ex- 
penditures — all render it necessary for me to call capitalists to my aid, 
and for this they are offered a generous equivalent. I remain, now, as I 
said in my last, waiting to hear definitely from you. I think £300,000 
more capital than we need. £200,000 and a restricted number of gen- 
demen would be better. I prefer a smaller company to go upon a min- 
ing ground of restricted dimensions (but still abundandy sufficient for 
very large operations) to a very large company. For the rest I coincide 
with your views entirely, and expressing to you my earnest thanks for 
the able manner in which you are conducting this business, I conclude 
this letter expecting to write after the arrival of the Califa. steamer. 
Very respectfully yours, 

J. C. Fremont 

ALS (NHi — David Hoffman Papers). Endorsed: "Get admitted" (presum- 
ably as a part of Hoffman's answer in Chancery). 

1. These letters were not found. In a 20 July 1850 letter to Mayer, marked 
"wholly private," and with a request that it be "locked up," Hoffman expresses 
his eagerness for the agency. But he is also concerned why JCF, reputed to be 
extremely rich, is so reluctant to spend money on machinery and developmental 


work. He wonders a bit about his stability, since the least intimation of delay or 
an obstacle had caused him to consider abandoning the entire project. He fears, 
too, that the explorer possesses "a little of the leven of humbug" and might 
"prove deficient in that common sense which is, after all, the brightest jewel in 
the character of any man." With all these reservations, Hoffman was yet too 
proud to use JCF's authority "to draw for a shilling" until he had worked in his 
cause "some months." 

2. Many parties besides |CF were interested in the eleven-league grant on the 
San Joaquin River which Jose Castro obtained from Pio Pico on 4 April 1846. 
The petition of Castro and others for confirmation was filed on 2 March 1853, 
confirmed by the commission two years later, but ultimately rejected by the U.S. 
Supreme Court (DNA-49, Record of Petitions, 11:81-82 [Case 693]; 65 U.S. Re- 
ports, 346-52; gates [1], 33). JCF never names the shareholder or shareholders of 
"his" league of land. According to Dr. William F. Edgar, others besides JCF 
having interest in the Castro grant were: Beale, Samuel J. Hensley, R. P. Ham- 
mond, and a Mr. Crosby of San Francisco (Edgar to Henry W. Halleck, Fort 
Miller, Calif., 21 Feb. 1853, CU-B— Halleck, Peachy and Billings Correspon- 
dence). In 1849 Hammond had laid out the town of New York of the Pacific, at 
the mouth of the San Joaquin, for Col. Jonathan D. Stevenson (Bancroft, 

3. The place would have been either on the San Joaquin River several miles 
below a fort that was established the next year — Fort Miller — or possibly on 
the lower Merced River near present-day Cressey (information form Bertha 
Schroeder, Mariposa, Calif). 

4. Probably Mr. La Martini, but he has not been identified. A number of 
low-grade silver mines, including the Silver Bar Mine, a few miles south of the 
town of Mariposa, were opened and operated for some years, but they are no 
longer active. 

104. Fremont to Horace P. Hitchcock 

Washington City, Augt. 30, 1850 
Dear Sir, 

Yours of the 21st is received. 

I find a difficulty in answering such enquiries as yours. If I answer 
them favorably, all the responsibility in case of failure would rest on 
me. I send you the only thing I have which I know to be reliable.' 
When I left California such a man as you describe yourself to be, 
could do what you ask. How it may be now I cannot say. There are a 
gready larger number at work in the diggings, and machinery before 
long will take the place of the work of digging. But the gold cannot, 
in many years, be exhausted, & the early product will be compara- 
tively immense. 

A farmer s business there [is better] than in any part of the world 


that I know any thing of. If you should make California your home 
you would be certain of independence. By choosing your location you 
can have a fertile soil, healthy & pleasant climate & the best market in 
the world. Respectfully yours, 

J. C. Fremont 
Mr. Horace P. Hitchcock 
Hillsdale, Mich. 

ALS (Mason County Historical Society, Ludington, Mich.). Horace Philock- 
less Hitchcock did not go to CaHfornia, but remained in Hillsdale to become a 
prosperous farmer. 

1. Not found. 

105. Fremont to John Torrey 

Washington City, Sepr. 1, 1850 
My dear Sir, 

Yours of the 24th. was some five or six days in reaching me. I was 
just thinking to write & inform you that I am in a few weeks to set 
out again for California. I shall remain there so very short a time that 
I cannot do any thing for myself for plants, but will direct a person in 
my employ there to collect the Spring plants of our neighborhood. If 
there is any particular thing you would like done, please mention it to 
me. Is the Taxodium ' yet decisively known.? or would you want some- 
thing from that tree.? 

The Engravings you sent reached me safely, & quite revived a rec- 
ollection of old times. I regret that I have not yet received any of the 
drawings from Cal[iforni]a. As you remember, they were all left there, 
& I am afraid now will not reach you in time to be of any service. I 
will bring them all back with me when I return in December. 

The family join me in remembrances to you. Perhaps you may be 
in New York when I pass through & I will try to find you. Yours truly, 

J. C. Fremont 

Dr. John Torrey, 


1. Sequoia sempervirens (JCF's cypress). 


106. Fremont to William Crutchfield 

Washington City, Sepr. 5, 1850 
Dear Sir, 

Yours of the 26th ult. is received. 

I have now been absent from California since the first of this year, 
and things there change so fast in the crowding population that I 
could not undertake to tell you what it would be best for you to en- 
gage in. Without a trade or profession immediately available, I would 
recommend you not at present to undertake to establish yourself 
in California. But I do recommend to you, that you endeavor to ob- 
tain through Mr. Clay, or other of your Whig friends, some Custom 
House or other appointment, however small, as a foothold. Take your 
family with you, and start from that; and you cannot reasonably fail 
to obtain the independence which your exertions here have failed to 
procure. It will give me pleasure to give you letters to friends there, & 
if you find yourself able to go, I would be glad to know. Respectfully 

J. C. Fremont 
Wm. Crutchfield, Esqre. 
Sharpsburg, [Ky.] 

ALS (MB). 

107. David Hoffman to Fremont 

43 Upper Brooke Street, Grosvenor Square, London, 

5 Sept. 1850. 

[Notes that the preliminaries of company no. 2 (the Anglo- 
California Gold Mining and Dredging Company) will be settled "to- 
morrow" and transmitted by Saturdays steamer of the 8th. "Mr. 
Smiths Company No. 1 is delayed a few days by the absence of a 
material person. Company No. 3 (which, for the present promises to 
be the largest) met me twice, and a final meeting for preliminaries 
to be forwarded to you will probably take place about Tuesday the 


11th. Company No. 5 is only in embryo — at the head of which is 
Mr. Powles [president of the San Juan del Rey Mining Company], but 
he seems to be playing a game for a larger slice by far, and yet on far 
less advantageous terms. He speaks of miles instead of yards, but he 
also speaks of a capital of £350,000 and a gross royalty to you of not 
exceeding 8 to 12 percent!" Hoffman encloses a "Scale of Royalty." 

All the companies were surprised at the smallness of the extent of 
land, but Hoffman had convinced them that the Brazilian and Mexi- 
can notion of miles or many acres was erroneous for California. Still, 
they looked for about 300 or 400 yards by 200 yards breadth for every 
£20,000 of capital furnished. 

They were also "greatly astonished" that Charles E Mayer had 
failed to name the minimum royalty or to send a complete form of 
JCFs lease; a plat of his land showing known and conjectured veins; 
the exact form, locality, and extent of each of his leases; and his gen- 
eral ideas as to the staff and capital required of each company. They 
hoped for particulars by 10 or 15 Sept. 

The companies were pleased with the idea of having their own 
commisariat for the first six months, independent of California provi- 
sions, and thereafter of relying on the products of their own little 
farms, which they supposed would be from 100 to 125 acres, super- 
vised and worked by five Englishmen and five Indians. 

A Molineus Seele had £3,000 to establish his two sons (twenty-one 
and twenty-three years old) in an agricultural enterprise on the Mari- 
posa in the vicinity of JCE's lessees and desired through Mayer all 
sorts of information, including the minimum price per acre if JCF 
would sell or the terms of a lease if he would not. 

Chafes because the recent steamer had not brought a line from 
Mayer, whose duty is "to think for us all (on his side of the water) as 
Mr. Robert and myself have endeavored to do on our side." "Had I 
possessed the forms of your leases, with all of their stipulations, terms 
and conditions, I should have been enabled to settle preliminaries be- 
fore this time." Notes that he and Robert have handled all correspon- 
dence "with slight aid" since 10 July, but that soon he must have an 
"experienced" secretary. 

Suggests that a general smelting establishment be erected in the 
midst of JCE's leases. It was to be "the property of all the American 
and British lessees," financed by a contribution from each, in the ratio 
of their respective capitals. Suggests also that a London office, to be 


partly financed by JCF, be established for dealing with the concerns of 
lessees on both sides of the Adantic. Sender s copy.] 

Scale of Royalty ' 

£ s d 

1/2 50 

1/3 33 6 8 

1/4 25 

1/6 16 13 4 

1/8 12 10 

1/10 10 

1/12 8 6 8 

1/16 6 5 

1/20 5 

' If the yield of gold per ton of quarts was 18 to 24 ounces, the royalty was to 
be 1/4 of the gold or in money, £25 per £100 Sterling; if the gold yield per ton 
was 2 ounces and not exceeding 4 ounces, the royalty was 1/10 of the gold, or in 
money £10 per £100 Sterling. 

108. Fremont to Mrs. M. A. Edwards 

Senate Chamber, Sepr, 12. 1850 
My dear madam, 

I have had the pleasure to receive your note of the 11th & will of 
course carry Mr. Beale his revolver. 

It is my present intention to go out by the first steamer after the 
end of this month, but I am not sure that I shall be able to do so, & 
may be disappointed in going at all. 

I will not fail to give you early information of my movements. We 
regret to know that Mrs. Beale suffers from her eyes. The salt air of 
the California climate I think would do them good. We intend to 
bring forward Mr. Beale's name in a few days for an honorable and 
lucrative office in California.' Will you please ask Mrs. Beale what she 
thinks of it? Mrs. E joins in regards to her & your family. With re- 
gard I am very respectfully yours, 

}. C. Fremont 


ALS (DLC — Decatur House Papers, unnumbered blue box). Addressed to 
Mrs. M. A. Edwards at Chester, Pa. The widow of Samuel Edwards, a former 
representative of Pennsylvania in Congress, Mrs. M. A. Edwards was Beale's 

1. Benton is probably included in JCF's "we." Fremont had requested that 
Beale be appointed marshal of California. See Doc. No. 81. 

109. Fremont to P. Dexter Tiffany 

Senate Chamber, Septr. 12, 1850 
My dear Sir, 

You will see by the journals of the day that I have drawn the term 
ending on the 3d March next & Dr. Gwin the term ending in 1855. 

I desire to be a candidate for re-election at the meeting of the legis- 
lature and ask you at once for your friendly offices again. Will you do 
me the favor to have it made known that I am a candidate & use your 
influence among our friends.^ I have written a line to [William Carey] 
Jones on the same subject. Yours truly, 

}. C. Fremont 
P. Dexter Tiffany, Esqre. 
San Francisco, Cala. 

ALS (CSmH). P. Dexter Tiffany had been a member of the St. Louis bar and 
owned a great deal of property in San Francisco (San Francisco Daily Pacific 
Press, 17 July 1850; wheeler). 

110. Fremont to Palmer, Cook & Company 

[Washington, D.C, 17 Sept. 1850] 

This Indenture made this Seventeenth day of September in the 
Year One Thousand eight hundred and fifty at the City of Washing- 
ton, District of Columbia between John Charles Fremont of the State 
of California of the first part and Joseph C. Palmer, Charles W Cook, 
George W Wright and Edward Jones all of the City of San Francisco 
and State of California Partners under the Firm of Palmer, Cooke & 
Co. of the second part — Witnesseth that in consideration of the Rents 


provisions and agreements hereinafter contained and which on the part 
of the said Joseph C. Palmer, Charles W. Cook, George W. Wright 
and Edward Jones are to be paid done and performed He the said 
John Charles Fremont has demised and leased and doth by these pres- 
ents demise and lease until the said Joseph C. Palmer, Charles W. 
Cook, George W. Wright, and Edward Jones their heirs executors ad- 
ministrators and assigns a lot or square of land measuring Six Hun- 
dred Feet on each of the four sides, with all and singular the Mines, 
ores, and minerals, on in or under the same, together with the appur- 
tenances to the said Lot belonging, the said lot or square being a part 
of a certain Tract of Land called the Mariposas, and claimed by the 
said John Charles Fremont by virtue of a purchase from Don Juan B. 
Alvarado, Ex-Governor of California situated on, in and near the 
Mariposas River and its branches, in the said State of California 
agreeably to the Plat hereunto annexed the precise location of said Lot 
or Square of Land to be selected and determined by the above party 
of the second part or their Agent, within and upon any portion of the 
tract of Land above described which shall not be occupied at the time 
of selection by other lessees, acting by and with the consent of the said 
John Charles Fremont, and also saving and reserving to the said John 
Charles Fremont, that part of the Mariposas Tract which lies on the 
East side of the East Fork of the Mariposa Creek, and on which the 
words "reserved" are written on the annexed plot.' To Have and to 
Hold the said Lot or Square of Land above described, to them, the 
said parties of the second part, their heirs and assigns for and during 
the Term of Seven Years from the date hereof. 

And in consideration of the Premises the said party of the second 
part doth hereby covenant and agree to pay to the said John Charles 
Fremont his heirs and assigns One Sixth part of all Gold or other 
metals or minerals obtained from the aforesaid Square of Land the 
same to be paid or delivered quarterly at the Mines upon the demand 
of the said John Charles Fremont or his Agent the amount or quan- 
tity of which said rents shall be ascertained by a book to be regularly 
kept at the Mines and subject at all times to the inspection of said 
Fremont or his Agent. 

And the said Joseph C. Palmer, Charles W Cook, George W 
Wright and Edward Jones their Heirs, Executors, and Administrators 
do covenant to and with the said John Charles Fremont his Heirs and 
Assigns, that they will peaceably yield up said Lands and all the privi- 
leges thereto belonging, at the expiration of Seven Years from the date 


thereof together with all and singular the improvements which shall 
have been made upon said Lands the same becoming the property of 
the said John Charles Fremont except machinery. And it is further 
stipulated and agreed that the said party of the second part shall put 
up the necessary machinery for the purposes aforesaid on such square 
of land as they may select, and have the same in full operation within 
one year from this date or this lease shall be held to be forefeited. 

It is further agreed that the party of the first part, shall have the 
ordinary legal lien of the Land Lord for his payments; and any breach 
of the stipulations of this Lease by the party of the second part shall be 
a forfeiture of the same. 

In Witness whereof the parties to these presents have hereunto set 
their hands and affixed their seals the day and year above written. 

John Charles Fremont [Seal] 
Palmer Cook & Co. [Seal] 
Signed sealed and deliverd in 

the presence of 

(part of the 22d. and all of the 
23d. and 24th lines on the first 
page erased before signing & also 
part of the 5 & 6th Lines) 
Charles de Selding 

United States of America 

District of Columbia 

City and County of Washington 

Be it Known, That on the nineteenth day of September in the year 
of our Lord, One thousand eight hundred and fifty, before me, 
Charles de Selding, a Public Notary, in and for the County of Wash- 
ington, in the District of Columbia aforesaid by lawful authority duly 
appointed, commissioned, and sworn, residing in the City of Wash- 
ington came the Honble. John Charles Fremont and George W. 
Wright for himself and as Attorney in fact of the firm of Palmer 
Cook & Co. before named and acknowledged the foregoing lease to 
be their Act and Deed. 

In Testimony whereof I have hereunto set my Hand and affixed 
my seal of office, at Washington aforesaid, the day and year aforesaid. 

Charles de Selding 
Notary Public 


Copy (NHi — David Hoffman Papers). The copy does not indicate the seal of 
the notary pubUc. Since this is a copy and the hnes are not numbered, the omis- 
sions referred to do not appear. 

This is JCF s first known formal lease to Palmer, Cook & Company and was 
the basis of that firm's lease to the Agua Fria Mining Company, which would be 
organized by George W. Wright and Hiram Walbridge in Great Britain. Origi- 
nally, the San Francisco banking firm seemed to have entered upon the Mariposa 
as squatters. It may have had a lease earlier than the present one, as JCF referred 
to a ten-year lease to 200 feet square with a variable royalty (Doc. No. 121, 
29 Nov. 1850). 

1. This is a reference to the Mariposa Mine. 

111. David Hoffman to Fremont 

London, 19 Sept. 1850 

[The lack of information from JCF and Mayer has caused a dis- 
agreeable state and delayed the proposed leases. All he can do now is 
to send to JCF (which he does) unsigned preliminaries embracing the 
general notions of both lessee and JCF "I therefore earnestly hope 
they will receive your earliest attention, and that on them I shall re- 
ceive such instructions as may enable me to have signed preliminaries 
speedily sent to you." Senders copy.] 

112. William M. Gwin, Fremont, 

George W. Wright and Edward Gilbert 

to Millard Fillmore 

Washington, 20 Sept. 1850 

[Recommend the appointment of Rodman Price Lewis as a mid- 
shipman in the navy. ALS (CLU — Fillmore Papers).] 


113. David Hoffman to Fremont 

43 Upper Brooke Street, London, 24 Sept. 1850 

["Mr. Robert and I are apprehensive that our many and volumi- 
nous letters, &c. &c. have either not duly come to your hands, or that 
your pressing occupations prevent the possibility of your making early 
replies or that Mr. Mayer has consented to receive an office more 
onerous than he anticipated or than he can perform." Laments that 
lack of information and the ability to state precisely the terms of leases 
are delaying the formation of companies. "If one Company be finally 
agreed on, I shall know my course, and have plain sailing." Senders 

114. Fremont to William L. Marcy 

Senate Chamber, 25 Sept. 1850 

[Supports Dr. Charles M. Hitchcock, of the army, for a proposed 
brevet because of his "meritorious service during the late War." JCF 
expresses a high opinion of Hitchcock's worth. He is also "an old & 
highly esteemed friend." ALS (DNA-107, LR, S-219 [72]). In the 
same file were supporting letters for Hitchcock's promotion from 
Maj. Gen. John E. Wool and from Congressmen Alexander H. Ste- 
phens and W A. Gorman. It was unusual for an officer of the medi- 
cal department (i.e., not of the line) to be brevetted. On 13 Feb. 1851 
Hitchcock was promoted to major surgeon; he resigned from the 
army two years later and died in 1885.] 

115. Fremont to Edward Simmes 

[28 Sept. 1850?] 
Dear Sir, 

We have the pleasure to thank you for the bouquet you sent 
Mrs. Fremont this morning. 


Col. Benton could hardly believe that such beautiful flowers grew 
on the north side of the street. 

With many thanks for the gratifying expressions of your note I am 
with regard, Yours truly, 

J. C. Fremont 
Sepr. 28 

ALS (James S. Copley Collection, La Jolla, Calif.). 

116. Fremont to the Editor of the 
Baltimore Sun 

Monday, Sept. 30th. 1850 

Your paper of this morning contains a paragraph in a letter from 
this place, which it is obligatory on me to notice and in such a clear 
language as I believe the circumstances justify me in using. It appears 
under the well-known signature X, and I believe it to have been writ- 
ten by Mr. Grund; ' but the paragraph which concerns me, I consider 
as the work of Mr. Foote himself, and shall accordingly treat him as 
the author. 

The following is the paragraph: 

The difficulty between Senators Foote and Fremont has been amicably 
arranged, as you will have seen by the card of those gentlemen's friends 
in to-day's Union.' This is as it should be. Mr. Fremont was wrong to 
attack Mr. Foote for words spoken in debate, which, as he (Foote) dis- 
tinctly avowed at the time in the Senate, were not spoken with a view to 
wound the personal feelings of any senator present, but merely to protect 
the country against ex parte decisions of the California Board of Commis- 
sioners for the adjustment of land titles. All that Gen. Foote had ob- 
served was, that without Ewing's amendment, granting an appeal to the 
Supreme Court of the United States from the decision of the Board, he 
considered that the bill would disgrace the Republic, and that however 
inclined he was to support the bill with the amendment, he should as- 
suredly vote against it without the amendment. Mr. Foote retracted 
nothing; but distinctly avowed that he did not intend any personal dis- 
respect for those who were against the amendment. Col. Fremont could 


not be satisfied with this explanation. As a sensible man, and a man of 
honor, he must have seen his mistake in attempting to gag senators in 
regard to all legislative acts relating to California, and in constituting 
himself the heir apparent of a family feud which, for the benefit of the 
whole country, had better be buried than renewed. 

This paragraph is false in many particulars, as I will endeavor 
briefly to show, but will first make a few remarks as to the authorship. 
When the friend ^ whom I had sent to Mr. Foote on Saturday morn- 
ing brought back his letter, and joined with other friends in saying it 
was sufficient, and that I ought to be satisfied with it, and with the 
statement which had been agreed to be published, myself and others 
replied that this arrangement was not satisfactory, because the aflfair 
would not rest there, but that Mr. Foote was in communication with 
a letter writer, who wrote for him in the Baltimore Sun and Phila- 
delphia Ledger, and that these two papers would soon contain untrue 
accounts of the afifair to my prejudice, and which would compel me to 
take further notice of it. This was repeatedly and emphatically told to 
the gendeman; but it was finally concluded to receive Mr. Foote s let- 
ter as satisfactory, and to watch the letters in the Sun and Ledger. Ac- 
cordingly, Monday mornings Sun brought the expected letter, which, 
as I have said above, I fully believe to be the work of Mr. Foote 
through Mr. Grund. 

The letter opens with saying, that the difficulties between Mr. Foote 
and Mr. Fremont have been very ''amicably" arranged. This word 
"amicably" is false, as was well known to the writer. I merely received 
Mr. Foote s letter as satisfaction, and no tokens of amity were inter- 
changed between us, not even speaking to each other. He comes then 
to the cause of the difficulty, all of which is falsely stated, and is so 
proved to be by the record. The letter says, "Mr. Fremont was wrong 
to attack Mr. Foote for words spoken in debate, which as he (Foote) 
distinctly avowed at the time, were not spoken with a view to wound 
the feelings of any senator present, but merely to protect the country 
against ex parte decisions of the California Board of Commissioners." 
This is untrue. This bill for the California land titles was not under 
consideration at the time, and had been previously laid upon the table, 
with my approbation, till the next session, with a view to give it the 
full consideration, for which there was now no time.^ Other measures 
had been taken up, and the naval appropriation bill was then under 
discussion; and it was on this bill — on the pretext of a motion from 
Mr. Gwin, having no relation to the land titles — that the words were 


spoken. It was not, therefore, to "protect" the country against any ac- 
tion under that bill that the injurious words were spoken, for the bill 
was not before the Senate, and had been laid over until the next 

The letter says Mr. Foote retracted nothing. This is untrue, as will 
be seen by the copy of Mr. Foote s remarks, as furnished to me by the 
reporter for the Intelligencer, contrasted with his own letter to me; 
both of which are herewith given in their order. And to avow no re- 
traction, is to re-affirm the original insult, by an insidious implication. 
I make no account of difference between retraction and denial in 
this case. 

The letter says, "Mr. Fremont must have seen his error in attempt- 
ing to gag senators in regard to all legislative measures in relation to 
California." ^ This is absurdly false — absurd in the idea that I should 
attempt to gag senators, and false in the fact. Much as the circum- 
stances of the country required the bill to be passed to prevent vio- 
lence and bloodshed in California, yet, when it was kept off until the 
afternoon of Friday, I gave it up for the session — said so, before the 
evening recess, to Messrs. Ewing and Benton, the two principal 
speakers on it — agreed to have it laid upon the table — and, satisfied 
that this would be done, did not return to the Senate until after the 
evening session had commenced, and until after the bill had been laid | 
upon the table; and when I did come in, I was surprised to find 
Mr. Foote referring to the California land tide bill, the naval appro- 
priation bill being the one under consideration. It is, therefore, false, 
as well as ridiculous, to say that I attempted to gag senators; I laid it 
over the next session expressly to admit the fullest discussion, which is 
exactly the reverse of gagging. 

The Baltimore letter says, "Mr. Foote did not intend to wound the 
feelings of any senator — but distinctly avowed at the time in the Sen- 
ate, that he did not intend any personal disrespect for whose who 
were against the amendment." This is false again, and is proved to be 
so by all the circumstances of the case, and by the words themselves. 
This is the report of them, as furnished me by one of the National 
Intelligencer reporters: 

We had some little admonition this morning as to the danger of hasty 
legislation in regard to California matters. Nevertheless, I say deliber- 
ately, I say it with due consideration of the matter and of the conse- 
quences of the declaration, that if the views which have been expressed in 
certain quarters this morning in regard to a portion of the legislation 


which is urged upon us for CaHfornia, should be adopted in the same 
hasty manner in which it is now proposed to us to give our sanction to 
the present proposition, the admission of Cahfornia into the Union 
would be productive of more detriment to the repubhc, and, in my opin- 
ion, be fraught with more real dishonor to the nation, than any event that 
has ever occurred in the historic annals of the country. Sir, we must be 
cautious about this California business. Not only is California a State of 
this Union, but she is a great State. Her resources are large. Her interests 
are vast. They are of vast importance to herself and to the country at 
large. In dealing with them we must act cautiously, circumspecdy, vig- 
ilantly, and permit no man, or set of men, to urge us hastily and indis- 
creetly into the adoption of any legislation for which, hereafter, we may 
have reason to repent in sackcloth and in ashes. 

Now, take this language, and see if there was not a design to be 
personal and insulting in it, and that upon a plan previously resolved 
upon. He avows deliberation — due consideration — disregard of con- 
sequences. What does this mean, but a pre-determined design to give 
both insult and defiance? And in that light it would doubdess have 
been represented, if I had not called him to account. Then the terrible 
consequences of passing the bill, the dishonor to the nation, the cor- 
ruption, the repentance in sackcloth and ashes: what did all this refer 
to, but the bill which I had brought in? And why refer to it at all, 
when it was not before the Senate, nor under consideration — actually 
laid upon the table, to lie there until the next session? Why not wait 
till the next session, if he only wanted to speak against the bill? Why 
refer to it at all, under such circumstances, unless for a purpose un- 
connected with the bill? and in such language, except for insult? It is 
useless to pretend the contrary; and, therefore, the Baltimore letter is 
false in saying that Mr. Foote had no design to wound feelings — no 
intent to be disrespectful. The contrary was understood by every sena- 
tor at the time, and is proved by the words themselves, and the cir- 
cumstances under which they were spoken, and there is no disavowal, 
distinct or indistinct, of personal disrespect to anybody. 

The Baltimore letter admonishes me not to make myself "^^/>" to a 
family feud. The admonition would be unnecessary, even if it came 
from a source entitled to respect; but, found where it is, it is both false 
and impertinent. I make myself ''heir' to no one's feuds. I begin none 
of my own. I prefer to live in peace with the world. But everybody 
will see from the remarks of Mr. Foote in the Senate, in relation to 
the bill I brought in, and his letter to the Baltimore Sun, that it is 
intended to make me "heir" to his feelings towards Col. Benton. 


I conclude this notice with giving Mr. Foote's letter to me, in an- 
swer to the note which I sent him by a friend: 

Senate Chamber, Sept. 28, 1850 

Sir: I do not feel that I should be doing justice to myself, did I not, in 
writing, (as I thought I did very explicitly last night, orally), deny that I 
said anything denunciatory of the bill to which you refer, or of those who 
introduced it. I was in favor of Mr. Ewing s amendment, and in favor of 
the bill itself, provided his amendment could be incorporated with it. 
This your colleague, well knows. I said that certain views had been ex- 
pressed in the course of debate upon that bill, and in support of it, what if 
sanctioned by Congress would disgrace the republic. What I meant was, 
that the establishment of a Board of Commissioners in California for the 
adjustment of land titles, without the privilege of appeal to the Supreme 
Court of the United States, would, in my opinion, result in scenes of cor- 
ruption, and acts of injustice, which would be seriously derogatory to the 
national character. So I think yet, and so I shall always think and say. 

If after this statement, you persevere in the demand contained in your 
note, I shall certainly gratify you, though I shall, from certain prudential 
considerations, defer a formal acceptance of your proposition until I can 
leave the District of Columbia. Your obedient servant, 

H. S. FooTE. 
Hon. J. C. Fremont. 

This was the letter received. It contradicts the speech, denies the f 
denunciation and insult which the speech contains, and is itself con- 
tradicted both by the actual words spoken in the Senate, and by the 
letter to the Baltimore Sun; and, although both of these are themselves 
untrue, yet it is not for Mr. Foote to say so, or to impeach their com- 
petency to invalidate the other. All three of these documents are 
given, and those who please may compare them, and see how entirely 
they convict each other. The letter to me, and the statement published 
by friends, would have been a quietus to the affair with me, if it had 
not been for the Baltimore letter. The letter to me, to be sure was 
untrue; but that was not my affair, provided nothing more was writ- 
ten. But I expected more — expected letters injurious to me in the 
Baltimore Sun and the Philadelphia Ledger, and so said at the time, as 
so the event was verified — and that has forced me to make this brief 
exposition of the threefold falsehoods of the premeditated attack upon 
me in the Senate, its denial in a letter to me, and its insidious implied 
repetition in the Baltimore Sun, by asserting that he retracted nothing. 

To put the whole case into three words, it is this: Mr. Foote went 


out of his way when the subject was not before the Senate, to deliver a 
deliberately considered insult and defiance to me — then denied the 
insult and defiance, and disclaimed all disrespect, in a letter to me — 
then re-affirmed, by inevitable implication, the same insult and de- 
fiance in a letter to the Baltimore Sun, denying all retraction. 

With this summing up of the case and the precedent proofs, I leave 
the affair to the judgment of the public.^ 

(Signed) J. C. Fremont 

Printed in Baltimore Sun, 5 Oct. 1850, and in bigelow, 422-26. 

1. A correspondent of the Baltimore Sun and a frequent contributor to the 
Philadelphia Public Ledger, Francis Joseph Grund (1798-1863) was credited 
"with being the father of the journalistic sensational style, full of hints of best 
sources and information behind the scenes" (dab). He had been a witness for 
Foote in the investigation following the pistol incident in the Senate (see Doc. 
No. 61, n. 1). 

2. A. C. Dodge, William M. Gwin, Henry H. Sibley, and Rodman M. Price 
had indicated that they were authorized "to state that the difficulty between the 
Hon. H. S. Foote and the Hon. J. C. Fremont — growing out of certain expres- 
sions used by the former in relation to the California land bill in the Senate last 
evening — had been adjusted satisfactorily and honorably to both these gentle- 
men" (Washington Daily Union, 29 Sept. 1850). 

3. JCF s note was carried by Rodman M. Price. It was virtually a challenge to 
a duel; the two senators had exchanged strong words the previous evening, and 
Foote struck JCF when the latter charged that the former was not a gentleman 
(gonzales, 82). 

4. JCF is accurate in noting that the California land bill was not under con- 
sideration when Foote made his remarks. 

5. JCF proposed allowing a board of land commissioners to adjudicate claims. 
A decision favorable to a claimant was to be final against the United States; if 
unfavorable, the claimant was to have a right of appeal to the District Court and, 
if still unsuccessful, to the Supreme Court {Congressional Globe, 31st Cong., 1st 
sess., 27 Sept. 1850, p. 2045). 

6. The 7 Oct. 1850 issue of the Baltimore Sun carried "X" or Grund's satiri- 
cal reply, and on 1 1 Oct. it ran a pro-Foote editorial, speculating about why JCF 
would object to giving the U.S. government the right of appeal from decisions of 
the California Board of Land Commissioners. 

117. Alexander von Humboldt to Fremont 

[Sans Souci, 7 Oct. 1850] 
To Col. Fremont, Senator 

It is very agreeable to me, sir, to address you these lines by my ex- 
cellent friend, our minister to the United States, M. de Gerolt. After 


having given you, in the new edition of my "Aspects of Nature," the 
pubUc testimony of the admiration w^hich is due to your gigantic la- 
bors between St. Louis, of Missouri, and the coasts of the South Sea, I 
feel happy to offer you, in this living token, {dans ce petit signe de vie) 
the homage of my warm acknowledgment. You have displayed a no- 
ble courage in distant expeditions, braved all the dangers of cold and 
famine, enriched all the branches of the natural sciences, illustrated a 
vast country which was almost entirely unknown to us. 

A merit so rare has been acknowledged by a sovereign warmly in- 
terested in the progress of physical geography; the king orders me to 
offer you the grand golden medal destined to those who have labored 
at scientific progress.' I hope that this mark of the royal good will, will 
be agreeable to you at a time when, upon the proposition of the il- 
lustrious geographer, Cha[rle]s Ritter, the Geographical Society at Ber- 
lin has named you an honorary member. For myself, 1 must thank you 
particularly also for the honor which you have done in attaching my 
name, and that of my fellow-laborer and intimate friend, Mr. [ Aime] 
Bonpland, to countries neighboring to those which have been the ob- 
ject of our labors. California, which has so nobly resisted the introduc- 
tion of slavery, will be worthily represented by a friend of liberty and 
of the progress of intelligence. 

Accept, I pray you, sir, the expression of my high and affectionate 
consideration. Your most humble and most obedient servant, 

A. V. Humboldt. 
Sans Souci, October 7, 1850 

English translation as printed in bigelow, 327-29, who also publishes the 
letter in French. On the envelope: "A Monsieur le Colonel Fremont, Sena- 
teur, Avec la grande medaille d'or, Pour les progres dans les sciences. Baron 

I. BIGELOW describes the medal as being "of fine gold, massive, more than 
double the size of the American double eagle, and of exquisite workmanship. 
On the face is the medallion head of the king, Frederic William the Fourth, 
surrounded by figures emblematical of Religion, Jurisprudence, Medicine and 
the Arts. On the reverse, Apollo, in the chariot of the sun, drawn by four high 
mettled plunging horses, traversing the zodiac, and darting rays of light from 
its head." 


118. Fremont to Charles E Mayer 

Irving House [New York] 
Oct. 12, 1850 
My dear Sir, 

I have been terribly pressed by business and have deferred writing 
to you until it is too late, but will do so from Chagres. Yours truly, 

J. C. Fremont 

Copy (NHi — David Hoffman Papers). This copy letter is a part of Charles F. 
Mayer's letter to Hoffman and Robert, dated 14 Oct. 1850. Mayers own letter 
contained some severe strictures on JCF. He noted that it was the only answer he 
had as a result of "four earnest letters written within the last eight days"; in two 
he had offered to go to JCF. Mayer maintained that he had asked for leases and 
all details needed by Hoffman, for provisional instructions to meet the prelimi- 
nary lease Hoffman was forwarding, and for authority to act definitely under 
the instructions. He had also asked for permission to supply money to Robert 
and Hoffman. In vexation with JCF, he added: "You see this beautiful illustra- 
tion of this spoiled child of fortune and of too sudden and too superlative fame. 
He is the most provokingly dilatory and fussy man. . . . He has gone, I presume, 
to California. . . . But even in passing through Baltimore, he did not give me the 
chance of an hour's conference with him. I am left to have a line as he is on the 
wing." On 24 Oct. Mayer continued in similar vein and assured Hoffman that 
he had tried industriously to procure information: "I kept up a seige to him 
most fruitlessly and only to meet an indifference the most impenetrable and 
most impossible and laziness the most disreputable." On 22 Nov., in reference to 
the fact that JCF had not supplied money to Hoffman, Mayer wrote, "He will do 
right ultimately: but his immediate remissness is unpardonable and stamps him in 
my eyes as a spoiled child of public eulogy." 

119. Fremont to John Torrey 

Taboga, near Panama, Oct. 30, 1850 
My dear Sir, 

Your letter in relation to Dr. EUet s proposal ' to me was received 
just in time to prevent a conference to him. A proposal has been made 
to me through a friend in New York, and as the subject is one of great 
interest with me just now, I had intended to examine into the subject 
with the view of making some application of it to our mines: We are 


about to engage in extensive gold mining operations, & I would be 
glad to know from you if you think your discovery can be advan- 
tageously employed by us in our operations." 

I shall not leave California until the steamer of January 15th so 
that an immediate reply from you, leaving New York by the Deer, 
steamer, would reach San Francisco just in time. I should be glad to 
hear from you while there. This note will probably reach you about 
the 23d November. Yours truly, 

J. C. Fremont 
Profr. John Torrey, 

ALS (NHi). 

1. The nature of Ellet's proposal is not known. One of the great civil engi- 
neers of his time, Charles Ellet (1810-62) had designed and built the suspension 
bridges over the Schuylkill at Fairmount and over the Ohio at Wheeling. In 
1857 }CF would offer him the position of chief engineer for the survey, location, 
and construction of a mining canal which he expected would run fifty to seventy 
miles long. A number of routes were being surveyed with the idea of bringing 
water to the mining operations on the Mariposa from either the headwaters of 
the Merced or the San Joaquin. The decision ultimately was to take the ore to 
the water, and a railroad was built from the Pine Tree Mine down to the Merced 
River where a quartz mill was also constructed. For a biography of Ellet, see 


2. The editor has been unable to find information on the "discovery." The 
botanist was also interested in chemistry, and rodgers, 230, notes that early in 
1850 Torrey had earned $250 doing "some valuable researches for a California 
Gold Company." 

120. Fremont to David HofFman 

Island of Taboga, near Panama 
October 30th. 1850 
My dear Sir, 1 

A slight illness obliges me to use Mrs. Fremonts pen. We are here 
on our way to California & sail on the 1st expecting to reach there by 
the 20th. Accompanying this letter I return to you through Mr. Mayer 
the "preliminaries"' which you submitted to the Anglo-American 
Company, and your scale of royalties." With some slight modifications 
which you will find noticed upon the first, I approve both these pa- 
pers, and have endorsed my approval upon them. This puts it in your 


power to make arrangements so far definitive as will enable the Com- 
panies to go on with their arrangements without any delay whatever. 
I am now going to California with a view of informing myself of the 
condition of affairs, and the quantity of mining ground upon which 
we can safely calculate. Until I am in possession of this definitive in- 
formation I am not willing to give the Anglo-American Company the 
privilege of any greater quantity of land than what is secured to them 
in the first instance. I shall write to you immediately upon my arrival 
in San Francisco, and afterwards, as I shall have information to com- 
municate. The difficulties which we have had with the squatters are 
disappearing and will soon be done away with. 

I understand that Capt. Sir Henry Huntley^ of the Royal Navy, has 
been taking liberties with my property, employing men to work there 
& carrying off gold quartz from the place.^ I trust this information 
(which I received here) is not correct, as it would render it necessary 
for me to have recourse to the proper authority against him. I just 
missed seeing him on the Isthmus, he being now on his way home to 
England having with him a large quantity of valuable specimens. I 
have to ask you to pay some attention to his conduct in England & 
I will write to you on the subject as soon as I obtain more informa- 
tion. Very truly yours, 

J. C. Fremont 
David Hoffman, Esqre. 

ALS-JBF (NHi— David HofFman Papers). Endorsed. 

1. In approving the preliminaries, which he did on 29 Oct. 1850, JCF noted: 
"I have disagreed to the 10th article for the following reason, viz: that I desire 
before granting any such additional privileges to lease holders, to ascertain 
clearly the amount of mining land. For such purposes I am now on my way to 
California. If the quantity shall be found equal to what we have anticipated, I 
shall have no objection to grant the additional quantity on the same terms, as the 
mining lot granted in these preliminaries." By the tenth article, the company, 
within eighteen months of the date of the first lease, would have had the right to 
double the quantity of mineral land first leased, upon the same terms as the 
original lease, but with only a capital increase of £20,000. The expansion could 
be either on adjoining lands (if not already leased) or elsewhere (NHi — Hoff- 
man Papers). 

2. See "Scale of Royalty," Doc. No. 107. 

3. A captain in the English navy, Sir Henry Vere Huntly had been sent to 
California by the Anglo-California Gold Mining and Dredging Company with 
which Hoffman was negotiating in the late summer of 1850. The company had 
been formed early in 1850 and allegedly had tide to rich property somewhere on 
the Stanislaus or Calaveras rivers. Huntly could not locate the property de- 


scribed in the beautiful prospectus and went to the Mariposa region, where he 
examined the works of the Stockton & Aspinwall company "on the other side of 
the mountain" in which the Mariposa Mine was situated. He also visited the 
Agua Fria Mine, which had just been opened by a party of five young English- 
men and one American. It was seven miles from the Mariposa Mine. But it was 
the latter, then being worked by the newly formed Mariposa Company, which 
won his enthusiasm. He noticed "that the privileges of sharing in this mine 
would involve an ouday at once from £25,000 to £100,000, according to the quan- 
tity of interest purchased," but that all the factors argued for a rich return. He 
himself had been negotiating with JCF s agent, William Buckler, and hoped to 
obtain a lease on a vein about half a mile from the Stockton & Aspinwall mine 

4. Huntly insisted that the proprietors of the mine had made a present of 
specimens to him (huntly). 

121. Fremont to Charles E Mayer 

San Francisco, Cala. Nov. 29th/50 
My dear Sir, 

I wrote to yourself & to Mr. Hoffman from Tobago and hoped that 
the letters reached you safely. In those letters I authorized Mr. Hoff- 
man to make definitive arrangements with certain companies in En- 
gland upon the terms he proposed to me. It seems to me that, in such 
leases as to give to me a fixed proportion, one third of the gross prod- 
uct would hereafter produce dissatisfaction among the English com- 
panies for the reason that in the Leases executed in the U. States only 
one sixth of the gross product is given to me. The House of Palmer 
Cooke & Co., who entered upon my land as squatters, have received a 
lease by which they pay only four per cent of the gross product the 
first year and ten (10) per cent the remaining six years. They however 
have only about 200 feet square, have no privileges of wood &c. and 
were already in operation when the lease was executed.' All this how- 
ever might produce dissatisfaction, & I therefore make you the follow- 
ing suggestions. — The quantity of mining land, privileges & duration 
of lease are all much greater then I have granted to parties in the 
United States. I therefore propose that the leases shall be executed to 
them (the English companies) on the terms laid down by Mr. Hoff- 
man in his project, and that they shall pay to me in quarterly pay- 
ments, one sixth part of the gross product of gold; together with a 
present consideration often thousand pounds, or, one fifth part of the 
gross product & present consideration of five thousand pounds — or, 


one fourth of the gross product and no consideration. To this scale I 
shall endeavor to bring the leases I may hereafter grant in the U. 

Mr. Hoffman can either adopt these terms, or the sliding scale ac- 
cording to the product of the [ro]ck, which he proposed to me." The 
above arrangements would suit me well, as additional capital would 
now be of great aid to me in carrying out my plans on the Mariposas. 

I had the good fortune to meet here (recently returned from the 
Mariposas) the Agent whom I had sent out with machinery. He had 
succeeded in getting it safely up to the place, & in having it mounted.^ 
On my way here, I had been attacked by Neuralgia in the leg, and 
could not immediately go up. I have therefore sent him back &, expect 
to see him here again in a week. I shall be able to write to you about 
the product of our machinery. 

The information I have received from the Mariposas is very en- 
couraging. It goes to prove that the whole place is more or less covered 
with gold veins, which you will remember was always my opinion. I 
am having a mineralogical survey made by competent miners (Hun- 
garians).^ They have already laid down upton] their map, thirty three 
distinct veins, yielding upon the surface from four to thirty cents to 
the pound of ore, and this in the vicinity of the first vein, beyond 
which they have not yet progressed. In the meantime other veins have 
been discovered in other parts of the tract. What these veins shall dis- 
close when we come to open them up we shall soon see. I hope to be 
able to give some satisfactory intelligence by the next mail. I shall not 
have time to write Mr. Hoffman by this mail, or rather it is not neces- 
sary, as you can send him this letter. You will understand that I give 
him hereby power to make definitive arrangements with companies 
(to the extent at present of ten leases, for which we know that we have 
room) according to the terms proposed by him in the projects which 
you transmitted to me at New York in October (which I have re- 
turned to him through you with my endorsements) & the modifica- 
tions of this letter. Very truly yours, 

(signed) J. C. Fremont 
To Charles E Mayer, Esq. 
Baltimore, Maryland 

The squatter difficulties are disappearing. 

Copy (NHi — David Hoffman Papers). Endorsed. 

1. This seems to be a reference to Palmer, Cook & Company's very early lease 


on the Mariposa Vein (see Fremont to Hoffman, 1 May 1851). The lease has 
never been located. JCF's lease of 17 Sept. 1850 was the basis for the company's 
claim to the Agua Fria and granted a square of 600 feet with a stipulation that 
JCF was to receive one-sixth of all gold or other metals (Doc. No. 110). 

2. Hoffman's sliding scale was based on the richness of the quartz. For exam- 
ple, if the yield of gold per ton of rock was from two to four ounces, the royalty 
should be one-tenth in gold, or if in money, £10 per £100 sterling; if the yield 
was eighteen to twenty-four ounces, the royalty should be one-fourth in gold, or 
in money £25 per £100 sterling. 

3. At the end of Aug. 1850 J. Eugene Flandin had sailed on the Philadelphia 
with machinery for extracting gold (New YorV. Herald, 28 Aug. 1850). 

4. The principal Hungarian making the survey was Samuel Count Wass 
(1814-79). He was possibly assisted by two army friends who came to California 
with him, Maj. Edward Theodore Danburghy and Capt. Charles Uzani. The 
Daily Alta California, 13 Jan. and 14 Feb. 1851, prints two letters from him dated 
from the Mariposa in which he extolls some of the veins of the estate. The next 
year Wass, Molitor & Co. of San Francisco were issuing small coins bearing their 
initials which they guaranteed to be worth the value stamped thereon. Wass re- 
turned to Hungary permanently in 1859. 

122. Fremont to Abel Stearns 

San Francisco, Dec. 1, 1850 
My dear Sir, 

I write to say to you that I hope you will be at San Jose in time for 
the election of U.S. Senator, which will take place shortly after the 
meeting of the legislature. The measures relating to the landed inter- 
ests of this country, which I introduced recently at Washington, and 
more especially that relating to the adjudication of the land claims, I 
as a landholder, consider of vital importance to the security of our 
property. For these reasons, if for no other, I desire to re-election, — 
and having confidence in my own devotion to the true interests of the 
[state] I wish to see these measures carried out. My views on these 
subjects are well known to you, & trusting to the continuance of your 
friendly feelings, without further enlargement, I have written to ex- 
press my hope that you will come up in time to give me your support, 
as there will be many candidates. Yours truly, 

J. C. Fremont 
Hon. Able Stearns 
Los Angeles 

ALS (CSmH). 


123. Fremont to the People of California 

[ca. 24 Dec. 1850] 

Particular circumstances which have been created by the unex- 
pected termination of my senatorial term on the 4th of March next, 
and the magnitude of the interests entrusted to the California delega- 
tion, make it expedient and proper that I should render to my constit- 
uents some account of the manner in which I have proposed to dis- 
charge my portion of the trust: especially as the approaching election, 
in awakening the concern of patriotic citizens for the welfare of the 
state, exposes my conduct to a severer scrutiny and a stricter account- 
ability than would otherwise have fallen to my individual share; and 
likewise renders it incumbent on me not to seem by my silence to 
acquiesce in the multiplied misrepresentations of myself and my mea- 
sures, which have been devised and pressed with so much energy for 
electioneering purposes. 

When the State of California was finally admitted to a representa- 
tion in Congress the day for adjournment had already been fixed, and 
barely three weeks of the session remained. Although into this brief 
space was to be crowded the accumulated business of the session, and 
of the country, it was generally understood that a day or two would be 
set apart in the senate for the consideration of California affairs. With 
this restricted allowance — narrowed down, as it proved to be by the 
pressure of other interests to a few hours only — it was evident that 
litde in the way of deliberate legislation was to be had for California. 
What I have to say, therefore, must be confined rather to a declaration 
of my views and a vindication of what I had proposed to do, than of 
what I have done. 

Satisfied that in this condition of things you would require little at 
the hands of your delegation, but would be proportionably gratified 
with whatever they might succeed in accomplishing, I prepared my- 
self to urge upon Congress the laws customary and necessary to our 
full political organization, and such other important and exigent mea- 
sures as in our singular condition had become necessary. In carrying 
out these views I resolved to bring before Congress only such practical 
measures as I might reasonably expect to obtain the favorable consid- 
eration of, and while asking for California all that had ever been 
granted to any other state, to introduce no propositions for the selfish 
purpose of creating false expectations or unfounded hopes at home, or 


hazarding the good that I thought might be obtained by demands 
which in the present spirit of Congress I know would not be listened 
to. Immediately, then, upon my taking my seat in the senate, I intro- 
duced a series of measures, which, though in some instances designed 
for local benefit, in greater part comprehended general interests of the 
state. With the view of our urging these measures as far forward as 
possible, I had in presenting them — as measures vitally affecting our 
future interest — the special object of bringing directly before the peo- 
ple of the state, for their consideration, in order that at the ensuing 
session of Congress I might act with a decreased responsibility, and 
under the authority and enlightenment of their fully expressed opin- 
ions. Continued ill health since my arrival has defeated one of my 
objects in returning to the state at this season, by preventing me from 
making a personal inquiry into the views of my constituents, that I 
might more effectively represent them. 

Among the questions involved in the bills proposed, were several 
which a familiar knowledge of the country and friendly relations 
with a large body of its inhabitants led me to regard with a particular 
interest. First in importance was the course to be adopted for adjust- 
ing tides to land, and for acquiring rights of property in the gold 
mines. Upon the early setdement of these questions, and upon the 
direction given to the legislation of the general Government upon 
them, depended, in my opinion, a large measure of the future quiet 
and prosperity of the country. 

To the bills comprehending these two subjects — land tides and 
gold mines — public attention has consequendy been chiefly directed, 
and electioneering ingenuity has been chiefly extended to procure er- 
roneous and prejudicial opinions. On them, therefore, I propose to 
make some remarks, referring for details to the bills themselves. That 
which has been most frequendy made the subject of remark and ob- 
jection, is the bill for preserving order in the gold mines, which has 
been condemned in general terms for excluding foreigners, and mis- 
represented as a scheme for imposing taxes on the miners, and in 
other equally unfounded respects. 

As the title avers, the measure is a temporary one. It introduces a 
subject entirely new in American legislation, which from its novelty, 
importance and intrinsic difficulty excited much interest and attracted 
a close and jealous examination. Its leading principles are to exclude 
all idea of making national revenue out of the mines — to prevent the 
possibility of their monopoly by moneyed capitalists — and to give to 


natural capital, to labor and industry, a fair chance in fields of its 
own choosing; that is, to accomplish the double purpose of inviting 
the investment of moneyed capital and at the same time preventing it 
from driving out or overpowering the population who have no capital 
but their courage and industry, in the domain which they alone have 
developed and made available. It is the foundation of a system grant- 
ing to individuals rights of property in the mines. Its passage would 
have been equivalent to a surrender on the part of the general govern- 
ment of all usufructuary interest in the mines, and must gradually 
have led to a relinquishment of their municipal control to the State; a 
result, in my opinion, imperatively necessary to be obtained, but not 
practicable at this time as a distinct proposition. 

The original bill, as drawn up by myself, conformed to the charac- 
ter of our institutions and the general spirit of our laws. Its privileges 
were not reserved exclusively to the citizens of the United States, and 
no invidious distinctions were established against any particular people. 
But before the subject came up for debate in the Senate, the delega- 
tion of this State, on consultation, unanimously decided, that in defer- 
ence to the expressions of public sentiment as declared by the legisla- 
ture of the State, and endorsed in public meetings, and by the public 
press, a clause should be introduced, confining the mining privileges 
to American citizens. The action of your delegation was founded on 
what they had thus every reason to believe was the public sentiment 
here, and which it was their duty to represent. It appears, however, 
that the feeling here which made its impression at the capital, and 
influenced your delegation there, had already changed when the next 
steamer brought an account of their conduct, and your returning rep- 
resentative finds himself unexpectedly censured for a proposition 
which he did not originate, and for which he is only accidentally 
placed in a situation to be held responsible. 

Exception is made to the machinery, as we may call it, of executing 
the system; to the agents, to the permits, and of course to the sum, 
small as it is, which is proposed to be paid for the permit. Laws must 
have officers to execute them, and it was the purpose of the bill to 
provide the cheapest, most convenient and suitable system. In the first 
place there are agents to reside each in a gold mine district, grant the 
permits to applicants, visit the mines, and with a jury of six disin- 
terested men — miners themselves, and neighbors and friends of the 
disputants — settle disputes equitably, and without the delay and ex- 
penses of a resort to a court of justice for every litde question. To see 


that the agents are faithful a superintendent of gold mines is pro- 
posed, to superintend all the agents, examine their books and ac- 
counts, hear complaints against them, take appeals from their deci- 
sions and suspend them and appoint others in case of misconduct. 
The superintendent would be thus armed with strong power, not 
over the miners but over the agents, and for the benefit of the miners. 
It was considered necessary to have this strong, controlling power 
present, that all possible attention should be paid to the faithful con- 
duct of the agents, and the immediate redress of wrongs. The gorges 
of the Sierra Nevada are too remote from the metropolitan govern- 
ment — the President is too far off to observe the conduct of agents, to 
hear complaints, redress wrongs or dismiss the unfaithful. It would be 
equivalent to no redress for injuries, if a miner who is wronged were 
obliged to send his complaint to Washington, and prove it at that dis- 
tance from the scene of his complaint. 

I have heard that it is objected to this feature of the bill, that it does 
not provide a further appeal of disputes. It will be observed that the 
primary tribunal proposed, is a jury of six — two of whom chosen by 
each of the disputants, and two by the resident agent; from this tri- 
bunal it proposes that the party dissatisfied with the decision, may 
appeal to the Superintendent, who in his option may or may not refer 
it to a new jury of twelve. Probably it would have been better to have 
made it incumbent on him so to refer it, at the demand of either dis- 
putant; and perhaps also, it would have been expedient to provide for 
a final appeal to a Court of law. 

In reference to all this, it is only necessary to say, that the bill does 
not pretend to be perfect; it was not in the nature of things that it 
should be. It was expected that in its progress through Congress, it 
would be improved by the ideas which the discussion of the subject 
would develop. Still more, that in its operation, important amend- 
ments would be suggested. And I think I may congratulate myself 
that on a subject of so much difficulty, aflFecting such great interests, 
and in which the past legislation of our country offered nothing to 
guide my labors, I was able to devise a measure in which those who 
find it to their interest to misrepresent me and it, are compelled to 
resort to such details of it as do not affect its principles, and only re- 
quire an improvement to be suggested, in order to be adopted. 

The quantity allowed to each person I supposed would be ample, 
considering the privilege of changing his location, and of selling his 
lot as often as he pleases. Thirty feet square is proposed as the size of a 


lot to be worked by manual labor in a placer; two hundred and ten 
feet, or about one acre, to be the size of a lot in a mine worked by 
machinery in the rock. 

A placer lot, accordingly, contains nine hundred superficial feet. A 
cube of these dimensions would be twenty-seven thousand solid feet, 
and if a place of tolerable richness be found, an industrious man may 
say his fortune is made. 

If he sells, he may take another permit, and work on until he 
makes another good discovery, and either sells this or exhausts it; and 
so on until he is satisfied, or the mining exhausted. Wherever he may 
plant his stake, exclusive possession is guarantied to the miner so long 
as he works his mining lot, or to his assignee if sold, or to his legal 
representatives in the event of his death. All that he finds is to be his 
own — there is no tax to be paid, no per centum, no fifth, or tenth, or 
twentieth to the government, no officer to stand over him and require 
him to give an account of all he made, and surrender up a part to the 

For the more extended operations by machinery, the dimensions, of 
the parcel of mining ground fixed by this bill, are two hundred and 
ten feet square or about one acre. In a mineral country, reputed to be 
of such extraordinary richness, these dimensions were considered 
large enough for the mine itself, and for temporary buildings in the 
beginning of operations. Hereafter, when the mineral districts shall be 
better known, and the locality of the lodes or veins precisely marked 
out, it is probable that larger contiguous spaces should be granted for 
the construction of the buildings necessary for extensive works. In the 
meantime, it should be remembered that these veins will occur in 
tracts of ground rich in loose gold, and that all the advantages attend- 
ing a permit to work a placer, apply to the permit to work a mine, of 
which the superficial content is about forty-four thousand feet, and 
thirty feet depth of which would be one million three hundred and 
twenty thousand solid feet. 

The bill contains beneficial provisions in favor o{ first discoverers; 
they are to have double quantity without the payment of any fee, and 
with the privilege of a preemptive right. This would furnish induce- 
ments to prosecute researchers which would result in great benefit to 
the country, and the discoverer of a new placer, or of a new mine, will 
have a full reward for his enterprise. 

Upon the principle of sales of the public lands, five per centum of 
the proceeds from the sale of the permits is to go to the state of Cali- 


fornia, to be expended in opening communications through the 

The mode of taking effect of the system is equitable and proper, 
going into effect when the agent arrives in a district and promulgates 
the law; without any interruption to work going on, without any 
shock to existing operations, or any retroactive operation. 

As already stated, the leading purpose of the bill is to leave labor 
and INDUSTRY a fair choice in all the benefits of the mines; to exclude 
the idea of a government revenue from them, and especially to avoid 
any system that would cause an espionage by government agents, into 
the amount of any man's earnings. Without intending to cast censure 
on any one, it is proper for me to say, that every other plan, as far as I 
know, for the regulation or working of the mines, which has been 
recommended either to or in Congress, must have operated to the re- 
verse of the objects which I proposed. Most or all the different plans 
suggested have contemplated, first, the advantage of the government, 
either in a per centage on the gold extracted, or in sales of the mining 
region, in lots, after ascertaining their comparative values by scientific 
examinations, or finally by establishing government broker shops, to 
which every man should be compelled to bring the gold he should 
extract, to sell at a fixed price; and nearly the only objections urged to 
the bill which I introduced, and the reasons that its friends did not 
succeed in getting it taken up in the House of Representatives, was 
that it proposed too much for the miners, and too litde for the govern- 
ment. From these facts, my fellow citizens who are engaged in min- 
ing operations, will better understand the real condition of their inter- 
ests at Washington, and the alternatives likely to be left to their repre- 
sentatives there. 

I believe it is very important to the interests of this State, that the 
determination of the General Government in regard to the mines, 
should be speedily known, and the manner and conditions on which 
they may be permanendy held and worked, relieved of the uncer- 
tainty and doubt that now unhappily check expensive enterprises. It 
was my endeavor to anticipate less favorable legislation, (which I be- 
lieve, is to be apprehended) by initiating and compromising the gov- 
ernment to the support of a system having for its object the interests 
of the miner; but if any better plan were proposed for the accomplish- 
ment of the same end, and likely to be favorably received by Congress, 
I should with increased satisfaction substitute it for what I have 


The leading principle of the Bill concerning land titles is to quiet 
the country, and to this great object its details are carefully directed. 

The bill proposes a Board of Commissioners, whose business it 
would be to collect evidence, and to decide briefly and without the 
technicalities of legal proceedings on the great mass of cases which 
have come before them. They are required to travel through the coun- 
try and carry justice and quietude to every man's door. Cases involv- 
ing really any doubt or any question of law would go to the District 
Court of the United States with an appeal in the event of a decision 
against the claimant, to the Supreme Court at Washington. The great 
mass of cases, therefore, would be decided here and speedily. 

The principle of this bill, 1 shall state frankly, was to procure the 
speediest, cheapest and least troublesome mode that was likely to re- 
ceive the approbation of Congress, for the settlement of questions of 
tide, and the separation of private lands from the public domain. The 
purpose of the bill was to quiet tides, not to disturb them; to ascertain 
and guaranty the rights of property, or who contemplated owning 
property, secure in the tenure by which he should hold. The only ob- 
jections urged in Congress against this bill were to those very features 
that I think ought to recommend the bill itself to the people of the 
state, and to every one who has regard for its honor and welfare. The 
sole objections urged were to those provisions which contemplate 
a speedy ascertainment and assurance of tides, by tribunals on the 
ground; and nearly the sole amendments offered were for the pro- 
longations of the questions which now so much interefere with the 
harmony and prosperity of the country, and for their removal to 
Washington. The object of these propositions is so obvious — so plainly 
for the purpose of levying mail on the property of this state for indi- 
vidual benefits in the eastern states — to secure, in short, fat fees to the 
lawyers who congregate at Washington — to compel the people here 
to part their heritage with the promoters of litigation abroad — the 
object of all propositions of this kind is so obvious, and the monstrous 
injustice and hardship of sending the great mass of land titles to a 
country to be litigated six thousand miles off" by a people not ac- 
quainted even with the language in which they are written, and the 
disastrous effect such delays must have on the improvement of this 
country, are so striking, that I cannot suppose any one can advocate 
them, whose interests and affections are not elsewhere than with the 
honor, dignity and welfare of this state. 

The bill is framed in its general character in conformity with the 


customary legislation of our government; but with important modi- 
fications, looking to the main object, already developed, of a speedy 
and cheap rendering of justice and establishment of quiet. The princi- 
pal of these modifications consists in making awards of the Board of 
Commissioners and of the local Federal Court final, when in favor of 
the claimant, and in making the law of prescription a foundation for 
title to be respected. The law of prescription, more just and equitable 
than our statute of limitations, ought in justice to be recognized in 
adjudicating upon tides which were acquired under it. 

So, the United States ought to be concluded by the decisions of its 
own law officers. They are their own judges, their own arbitrators, 
and ought to be concluded by the first decisions against them, and not 
have three chances at the same man's property. Neither ought the peo- 
ple to be made to spend their substance and their lives contending at 
law with the government for their homes. 

I am in favor of and shall gladly adopt any modifications of the bill 
I introduced, or any other plan that can be devised, likely to meet a 
favorable reception in Congress, which shall better answer the ends I 
have mentioned, of a speedy ascertainment and assurance of tides and 
establishment of quiet. But I shall never consent to any measure that 
may betray our government or people into the ignominy of confiscat- 
ing the rights of a conquered people, or violating the stipulations of a 

J. C. Fremont 
Printed in Alta California, 24 Dec. 1850. 

124. David Hoffman to Fremont 

43 Upper Brooke Street, London, 10 Jan. 1851 

[Fears that Mr. Robert, in his zeal, may have overwhelmed JCF 
with details. Notes that two of JCF's American leases have been 
brought on the British market and that the fifteen others were ex- 
pected to follow. Since they offered a lower royalty to JCF than Hoff- 
man had been trying to negotiate, they had hindered his conclusion of 
European leases, although he had tried to counter the underbidding 
by noting that the American leases were "experimental" and designed 


for instant execution. He still has hopes for the organization of a 
French company and that JCF would answer all his questions imme- 
diately and effectually. Senders copy.] 

125. Fremont to Persifor Smith 

San Jose, Jany. 12th. 1851 
My Dear Sir, 

The accompanying petition has been forwarded to me with the re- 
quest that I should send it to you, enclosed in a note from myself 
urging upon you the necessity for relief. 

I am very sure you will act as you feel authorized and with the 
hope that it may be favorably to the petitioners I am with respect 
Yours very truly, 

}. C. Fremont 
To Genl. P. F Smith, U.S.A. 

LS (DNA-393, LR, Division of the Pacific, F-1-1851). Endorsed: "Reed. Jany. 
15, 1851." The petition was not found with JCFs letter, but the white Mari- 
posans asked for protection from hostile Indians. 

The influx of prospectors and miners into the foothills and valleys brought 
the usual abuse of the natives and their retaliation by murder and plunder. 
There seemed danger of a general Indian war, especially in the upper valley of 
the San Joaquin where the Indians were notably independent and bold. 

Before the petition could reach Gen. Smith and even before Governor John 
McDougal's authorization to do so. Sheriff James Burney of Mariposa County 
had raised volunteers. With the governor's approval, the battalion's force was in- 
creased to 200, but before it could start on an extended expedition, McDougal 
instructed it to suspend operations. The U.S. Indian Commissioners — George W. 
Barbour, O. M. Wozencraft, and Redick McKee — had finally arrived in San 
Francisco and there was hope that peace could be re-established in the mining 
country (crampton, 115-22). 

126. Fremont to Charles M. Conrad 

San Jose, Calif., 29 Jan. 1851 

[Recommends the appointment of Francis Wright, "son of an old 
and highly respectable citizen of this state," as a cadet at the Military 


Academy. ALS (DNA-94, Military Academy, Applications, 280- 
1851). George W. Wright had a brother named Francis who had 
come out to California in 1849, but since he would have been twenty- 
seven years old in 1851, it is unlikely that he was interested in "cadet" 
status at West Point. In 1852 Francis Wright, along with Charles Moss 
and Mark Herring, purchased the interests of some of the heirs of 
Felipe Hernandez in Rancho Laguna de las Calabazas in Santa Cruz 
County (see two deeds dated 1 Aug. 1852 and one deed dated 9 Sept. 
1852, Santa Cruz County Deeds, Book 1, pp. 433 and 434).] 

127. David Hoffman to Fremont 

43 Upper Brooke Street, London, 1 Feb. 1851 

[Writes that the French company, "The Nouveau Monde," has sent 
their proposal, but he does not approve of it, since it does not come up 
to "our Terms." The royalty was only one-sixth, as in JCFs leases to 
Capt. Smith.' Furthermore, the French company also wanted a 
longer lease term and a larger extent of land without an adequate 
increase of capital, but Hoffman had "no doubt that with firmness 
this Company will be brought to materially improve their amount of 
offer." He cautions JCF about interfering and negotiating direcdy 
with individuals and requests "a correct list of every one of the Leases 
you have granted with particulars of the terms." Notes that the Anglo- 
California Company has failed to raise capital and that Sir Henry 
Vere Hundy s "Report," a copy of which Hoffman had earlier for- 
warded to JCF, introduced doubts about the Mariposa tide. "You 
could by that see also (I shall write stupid) inclination of preference 
for giving to the Mariposa Company' a large premium. They have 
been knocking about the Country some time to get funds from the 
Public and we have every reason to believe they have succeeded but 
badly, and I will tell you frankly I am under the firm impression that 
they will not be able to support any real or cohesive mining opera- 
tion." Sender's copy.] 

1. Capt. William K. Smith, a man of about sixty and a former commander 
of merchant ships. A Cornish mining engineer, Thomas Phillips, had opened 
the Vaucluse Mine for him in Orange County, Va., in 1842 and Hoffman noted 


that Smith still owned gold and copper mining property in that state. The cap- 
tain later visited California and then went to Washington, where he obtained 
from JCF two small seven-year leases — 200 feet by 200 feet — dated 3 July 1850. 
From there he had come to London and subsequently he would go to Paris, 
where he sold the leases to the Nouveau Monde Mining Company (the Liberty 
Mining Company, Report on the Vaucluse Mine (London, 1852J, Appendix, 
p. 19; Dagger Brief, 79-81, in Hoffman Papers; articles of agreement between 
David Hoffman and the Nouveau Monde Gold Mining Company, 8 Nov. 1851, 
in M. A. Goodspeed, Jr., Collection). 

2. It is not clear what Hoffman means by "giving to the Mariposa Company a 
large premium." The Mariposa Mining Company had been organized in San 
Francisco on 27 Sept. 1850 with capital stock touted at one million dollars. Its 
operations were not to be confined to Mariposa County or to gold either, al- 
though the gold of JCF's estate seems to have been its primary objective. Twelve 
men formed the company, but it was undoubtedly dominated by Palmer, Cook 
& Company, since all four partners were members as well as John Cook, Jr., the 
brother of Charles W. Cook (Mariposa Mining Company, Articles of Associa- 
tion, 27 Sept. 1850, Mariposa County Records, Book 1, pp. 1-3). 

128. David Hoffman to Fremont 

43 Upper Brooke Street, London, 7 Feb. 1851 

[Notes that he had come to a final agreement with the British Mu- 
tual Gold Mining Company (later the Quartz Rock Mariposa Gold 
Mining Company) of 30 George Street. Ultimately their capital was 
proposed to be £100,000, but he feels that one-half will be quite suffi- 
cient and that £25,000 will be enough to justify full operations. While 
they did not expect to have their forces in readiness before July, they 
were to send out geologists at once to make a selection. Lord Erskine 
was the active person in the Mutual and, although there were four 
others "of far better business habits," he would be extremely useful in 
swelling the capital. As he had met some initial resistance, Hoffman 
had not pursued the idea of a bonus or advance to JCE 

The Anglo-California Company, with which Sir Henry Vere 
Huntly was connected, is so odious that he does not think it would be 
safe for JCF "to deal in any way with that Company." It had adver- 
tised in the Times that it held a lease from him, but Hoffman could 
not believe it and had inserted a rebuttal in the same journal. 

Mr. Robert would write the details of the two French companies. 
Final agreements had been delayed by the appearance in London and 


Paris of three of JCF s leases — two to Capt. [William K.] Smith and 
one to Thomas La Chausne (not identified). The Nouveau Monde 
had purchased from Capt. Smith, but now needed a larger quantity 
of land. Sender s copy.] 

129. David Hoffman to Fremont 

43 Upper Brooke Street, London, 21 Feb. 1851 

[Sends the duplicate original of the contract "executed this day" to 
the British Mutual Gold Mining Company and notes that the Welsh 
company has been "vexatiously delayed" by the accident of Mr. Beck- 
erleg, an agent employed by Andrew Smith. The large British com- 
pany, "similar to the French one of which Mr. Robert has made you 
quite familiar under the name of Nouveau Monde," was at a standstill 
as Hoffman, by reason of his inability to obtain information from JCF, 
could not supply answers to questions. 

Four other contracts for France, somewhat similar to the British 
Mutual, had been executed by Hoffman, "and the monies are all con- 
fidently expected to be in hand in 60 days hence." The Nouveau 
Monde had been delayed by the indisposition of Mons. Paganelli and 
by three of JCFs leases (referred to in Doc. No. 128, 7 Feb. 1851). 

In contrast to Hoffman's more protective leases, JCF s contained no 
prohibitions on subleasing or assignment, no clause binding the lessee 
to be at work by a defined day, and provided for a royalty of one-sixth 
instead of one-fourth or the royalty of the scale (see Hoffman to JCF, 
5 Sept. 1850). 

Again the London agent reiterates that the Anglo-California Com- 
pany "is a regular humbug or bubble" and was trying to obtain "in an 
oblique way" a lease from Mr. [William] Buckler (JCFs agent on the 
Mariposa in the fall of 1850) approved of by Mr. Jones (probably Wil- 
liam Carey Jones, JCFs brother-in-law). Hoffman had not proceeded 
with a contract to the company, although JCF had approved the care- 
fully drawn preliminaries. 

Finds Mr. Robert invaluable. "He seems to know every body in 
London and in Paris and is much respected." Senders copy.] 


130. Fremont to J. W. McCorkle, H. S. 
Richardson, and C. Robinson 

San Jose, Feb. 26th, 1851 

I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of this 
date, and hasten to reply. 

In your first question, whether "If elected to the U.S. Senate, I 
would oppose the passage of any bill which may be presented to the 
Senate, providing for the sale or leasing of the mineral lands in this 
State," I have to reply, that I would oppose the passage of any such 
bill — that I am opposed to any system with regard to the mineral 
lands that looks to either leasing or selling them, and that both in my 
place in the Senate and in a recent address to the people of this State, 
have distincdy declared my opposition to that, or any other mode of 
making the mines objects of revenue. 

A principal object of my return to this State, after the close of the 
last session of Congress, was to ascertain more clearly, after the changes 
that in the course of a year would necessarily occur in our rapidly 
advancing State, the views and wishes of the people, and particularly 
those engaged in mining, in reference to the proper (if any) legislation 
required with reference to the mines, and I was only prevented from 
going immediately into the mining districts, for that object, by a se- 
vere illness that kept me confined in San Francisco. 

Should I be elected, it would be my intention during the coming 
summer to carry out that design, and to visit the mining districts for 
the purpose of being informed and guided by the practical views of 
the persons most interested in the subject, and whose interests only, I 
could possibly have in view. 

To your second question, whether I prefer the bill in regard to land 
tides in this State, presented in the Senate by Mr. Gwin or that of 
Col. Benton, I am obliged to reply, that since their receipt here last 
evening, my time has been so much occupied, and not anticipating the 
reception of any inquiries in relation to them, I have not given them 
an examination, or had an opportunity to consider what would be 
their respective operation. From what I have learned of them, how- 
ever, neither the one nor the other entirely meets my views. The main 
features of Mr. Gwin s bill I was before acquainted with, and I think 


it is objectionable in the indefinite, and, probably, universal litigation, 
it appears to me it would produce. Of the bill of Mr. Benton, I have 
only read a single section, to which my attention was particularly 
drawn, and which was as follows: 

Sec. 8. And be it further enacted. That on the trial of any scire 
facias to try the validity of a claim, the decision of the court shall be 
conclusive in favor of the claimant in every case, except in cases in 
which John Charles Fremont may be a claimant; and in all cases in 
which he may be a claimant, an appeal may be taken in favor of the 
United States to the Supreme Court of the United States; and in all 
decisions against the claimant an appeal may in like manner be taken 
to the Supreme Court. 

This section, as far as it relates to myself or any claim or title I have, 
I fully endorse, and shall endeavor to procure its incorporation into 
any bill that may be passed on the subject. 

I am not prepared to say that there may not be other tides, on 
which, if the decision be adverse, the government ought to take ap- 
peals to the Supreme Court at Washington, though, as a rule, I think 
the State and people ought to be spared the expense and delay of that 
distant litigation. 

From what I have learned of other portions of Col. Benton's bill, it 
would require many and important modifications for me to agree to 
it; and as I do not accord fully with either that or the bill of Mr. Gwin, 
perhaps it will be more satisfactory to state briefly, the views I myself 

I am in favor of the ascertainment, recognition, and confirmation 
of all lawful and equitable titles in this State, in the speediest and 
cheapest manner consistent with the detection and exclusion of any 
that may have been simulated or fraudulently made. To effect this, I 
proposed, in the Senate, a bill, in which, as conformable to the general 
course of our government, I proposed a commission of three persons, 
to be appointed by the President and Senate. It has been objected to 
this bill, that it restricted the government from the right of appeal, 
and in making the decisions of the commission final in so many cases, 
opened the way to corruption and the admission of frauds. My object 
was not to prevent inquiry, but to hasten justice; and I am free to 
admit, that the objection I have stated has force. I think it would be 
proper for the government to reserve the right of appeal to the Fed- 
eral Courts, with a requirement that such appeal should be taken, in 
all cases where fraud or simulation was suspected. 


I am not attached, however, to any particular form of proceeding; 
but shall gladly accept the best that can be desired for the cheap and 
speedy settlement of genuine titles, and the effectual exclusion of all 

I think the interests of the State every way require this, because 
uncertainty in land tenures, beside being a prolific source of conten- 
tion and often violence, must retard to a great degree, permanent set- 
dement and improvement. I may be permitted, in conclusion, to say, I 
should hope and expect enlightenment and instruction from the Leg- 
islature and the people of the State. 

I hope you will pardon me, gentlemen, that in connection with the 
present inquiries, I must respectfully ask that I may not be held re- 
sponsible, on those or any other subjects, for the views or opinions of 
any other person, or my own be supposed to be presented or colored 
by those offered in Congress whilst I am here, six thousand miles dis- 
tant. Very respectfully, your ob't. servant,' 

J. C. Fremont 

From the Daily Standard, 4 March 1851, as printed in Stockton Times, 
12 March 1851. Joseph Walker McCorkle (1819-84), H. S. Richardson, and 
Charles Robinson (1818-94) were all members of the California State Assembly, 
which was then meeting in San Jose and which was attempting to elect a U.S. 
senator {Journals of the Legislature of the State of California , 1851). McCorkle had 
already been elected to represent California in the 32nd Congress (biog. dir. 
CONG.). Richardson was from Mariposa. Robinson, who had been a leader in the 
squatter riot at Sacramento the previous summer, would soon return to Massa- 
chusetts and eventually become the resident agent of the antislavery New En- 
gland Emigrant Aid Society in Kansas and the first Republican governor of that 
state (dab). 

1. The day after this letter was written, the legislative convention balloted for 
the 142nd time. There was no winner, and it decided to postpone the election of 
a U.S. senator to 1852. 

131. David Hoffman to Fremont 

12 Half Moon Street, Piccadilly, London, 1 April 1851 

[His last letter from JCF was dated 29 Nov. His anxiety had been 
relieved by a note from William Carey Jones "at Washington" indicat- 
ing that JCF is well and in California. He hopes to have dispatches 


directly from him soon. Gives the terms with the British Mutual Gold 
Mining Company and with the Nouveau Monde: "1/6 royalty with 
£11,000. Premium — £1,000 in Bills at 4, 8, 12 and 16 months and 
£10,000 in the shares of the Company for 2400 feet by 600 feet mini- 
mum ground for 21 years with 300 acres of agricultural land." Had he 
known JCF's terms, he could also have made contracts for large tracts 
of agricultural lands for emigrants. Sender's copy.] 

132. Joseph G. Totten to Fremont 

Engineer Department 
Washington, April 11. 1851 

Your letter of the 29th January last to the Secretary of War, recom- 
mending Francis Wright for a Cadet appointment has this day been 
referred to this Department. 

In reply I have the honor to inform you that there is no vacancy in 
the M[ilitary] A[cademy] from California. Cadet Greene' will not 
graduate before 1854 and Cadet Vallejo" before 1855. 

Enclosed is a copy of the regulations for the admissions &c. of Ca- 
dets into the M.A. 

Mr. Wrights name will, however, be entered on the register as an 
applicant for a Calif, appointment. I am &c. 

Jos. G. ToTTEN 

B. Gl. & Col./Engs. 

Lbk (DNA-94, Military Academy, LS, 14:529). 

1. Jackson W. Green, son of Thomas J. Green of Sacramento City, Calif, had 
been recommended by George W. Wright in Aug. 1 850. He accepted cadet sta- 
tus, was later found deficient, and resigned in May 1853 (DNA-94, Adjutant 
General's Office, U.S.M.A., Cadet Applications #112-1850 and Register of 

2. Appointed to the Military Academy on 23 Dec. 1850, sixteen-year-old 
Adronico Vallejo was the son of Mariano G. Vallejo. As he was not yet proficient 
in English, he asked to delay his entry, and resigned when the request was 
refused (DNA-94, Adjutant General's Office, U.S.M.A., Cadet Applications 


133. Fremont to Abel Stearns 

[San Francisco, 24 April 1851] 

I make to Mr. Stearns the following propositions, viz: 

I offer to purchase his rancho in the sum of three hundred thou- 
sand dollars ($300,000), to be paid in the following manner — ' 

Fifty thousand dollars ($50,000) to be paid within six months after 
date of purchase. 

Permission to be granted me to drive off for sale during the present 
year three thousand beef catde (steers or novillas) and the proceeds of 
such sale to be paid to Mr. Stearns on account of the purchase. 

The remainder to be paid in three years by equal payments, with 
interest at 6 per cent, per annum. 

The privilege to be granted me of using an amount of stock equal 
to the yearly increase of all the stock upon the place, until the pur- 
chase money is paid. 

The purchase money to be secured to Mr. Stearns by him upon the 
rancho and stock. 

It is further understood in making this offer that Mr. Stearns will 
turn over all the stock, improvements, implements &c belonging to 
the place, & that no sale will be made or stock drive off, provided 
these terms be accepted. 

Ten thousand dollars ($10,000) to be forfeited by me in the event 
that I fail to comply with the terms of the contract. Mr. RueVel [?]Ms 
associated with me, and be constandy upon the place, or occupied in 
driving up cattle, & general management of the business. 

J. C. Fremont 

ALS (CSmH). 

1. The rancho JCF wished to purchase was Los Alamitos, one side of which 
bordered the Pacific Ocean south of present-day Long Beach. As finally pa- 
tented, it contained 28,027 acres, which in 1850 was assessed at 37.5 cents an acre 
or $12,192, including the two houses, appraised at $1,500, and other improve- 
ments. In addition, the cattle, horses, and sheep on the rancho were assessed at 
$66,400. Stearns did not sell (gates [1]). 

Shortly before JCF made the offer to Stearns, JBF had written Frank P. Blair, 
Sr., that they were "just about going on a ranchero and described it as containing 
6,000 head of cattle and horses and "soft enough in climate" for olives, figs, 
grapes, peaches, and apricots. The implication was that JCF was "going largely 
into farming"; she desired Blair to send seed via Adam's Express (JBF to F. P. 
Blair, San Francisco, 1 1 April 1851, NjP— Blair-Lee Papers). She added that the 
Mariposa was no place for her. "Indians, bears & miners have made it lose its 


good qualities as a country place & it is very out of the way." When he did not 
succeed in purchasing Los Alamitos, JCF turned to the development of a ranch 
on the lower part of the Mariposa tract, but he never set out truit trees and vines. 
2. The name is difficult to read. Since the editor has been unable to identify 
"RueVel," JCF may have been referring to Paul Leroy, whom he identifies as "a 
merchant of San Francisco" briefly associated with him in the contract to supply 
beef to the Indians (see JCF to Beale, 8 March 1852). 

134. Fremont to David Hoffman 

San Francisco, California, May 1, 1851 
My dear Sir, 

I have to acknowledge the receipt of your several letters of Febru- 
ary accompanying a lease, to the British Mutual Gold Mining Com- 
pany, of lands on my Mariposas property. Reserving for another letter 
my reply to your various suggestions, I have in this the special object 
of signifying my entire approval of the lease, in all its particulars. In 
regard to agricultural land, you are authorized to grant whatever 
quantity may be judged necessary to the maintenance of their estab- 
lishment. The sooner their selection is made the better it will be for 
the interests of the company. Yours truly, 

John C. Fremont 
David Hoffman, Esquire 
London, Eng. 

ALS (NHi — David Hoffman Papers). Endorsed. 

135. Fremont to David Hoffman 

San Francisco, California, May 1, 1851 
My dear Sir, 

I received by the mail of the 22nd. ult. your three letters of Febru- 
ary, dated from the 1st to the 21st inclusively. I am glad that we have 
it at last in our power to congratulate ourselves on the success of your 
exertions, and I trust that we shall soon see some of your companies 


on the ground. I recognize that the delay is principally attributable to 
me, but much of it also belongs to the difficulty or impossibility of 
procuring information required by you, and to the distance which 
makes communication uncertain and long. In view of this latter ele- 
ment, I think that as you are thoroughly possessed of my plans for the 
development of the Mariposas and as I have perfect confidence in 
yourself, it is altogether advisable to leave the farther management of 
the business to you in Europe and for that purpose to give you carte 
blanche to make the leases on such terms as you judge advisable. I 
will approve them when transmitted to me. I do this mainly because I 
am satisfied that European capital & European stability alone are 
competent to the development of our mines. Every American enter- 
prise of the kind that I am acquainted with, has originated and been 
conducted in a spirit of speculation. Some of a more stable and better 
character are now being commenced, but with these I shall have 
nothing to do. Agreeably to my letter to you of many months since, I 
have refrained from granting any leases on the Mariposas, holding it 
right to leave the ground unoccupied for the really sound companies 
you might be able to form.' The only leases granted after those ad- 
vices to you was the final confirmation of the lease to Palmer, Cooke 
& Co. who work what is called the Mariposas vein (which is the first 
vein I discovered) & constitute what is called the Mariposas Mining 
Company," & a lease recently granted to my friend Lieut. Beale, of the 
navy. This latter lease was recendy granted & is of the usual small 
dimension of one hundred yards. In all the leases which I had previ- 
ously given the error to which you refer, of making no provisions 
against a transfer or sale of the lease, was committed, but they con- 
tained also a provision to the effect that if within one year from date 
their machinery should not be in full operation, the lease should be 
forfeited. As I find that most of these leases were obtained for pur- 
poses of speculation in Europe & elsewhere, I shall (as I have already 
done in several cases) enforce the forfeit which they have nearly all 
incurred. The only exception I make is in Mr. Lacharme's case,^ who 
in company with Mr. Antoine,^ & Mr. Swift,^ have arrived & went up 
yesterday to the Mariposas. I have granted them an extension of time. 
I suppose Mr. Smiths leases will have the same provision in them. In 
regard to Sir Henry Hundy and the Anglo-California Company I can 
only say that the only correspondence I have had with the company 
has been through yourself, & none at all with Sir Henry H. If he has 
any lease it must be from some arrangement with the Mariposas 


Company to which he refers in his report, & which company holds 
under me. That lease however, covers an insufficient quantity of 
ground, & is otherwise meager, as they have not even the privilege of 
getting iron on the place, or of agricultural ground. I have not reed, 
the letter you refer to, & which you say contains inquiries in regard to 
the Mariposas. So far as regards the agricultural lands these you can 
state that they are abundant, & of the most fertile character in Califor- 
nia, which is saying a great deal. There are excellent grazing lands, 
admirably adapted to sheep. So far then as regards the vein, I am 
satisfied that analyses give no reliable indication, for the simple reason 
that they do not embrace a sufficient quantity of the work. Analyses 
give results of any degree of richess, but what we want is labor by 
machinery continued for months, & going to a sufficient depth & with 
machinery of sufficient power to give us a solid guaranty for heavy 
operations. I was occupied at the session of Congress last year & 
trusted to Mr. Wright in the purchase of the machine which he got 
up & recommended[?]. I found on my arrival here that we could not 
get steam enough on it to grind the rock at all, and I assure you in 
sober truth that it would not grind the coffee for the St. John de Rey 
Mining Company! Stockton & Aspinwall (who hold a lease under 
me) sent out a force of men which costs them three hundred dollars 
per diem, with a heavy outfit, and yet have a machine which ground 
only two tons per diem! What we require here is heavy machinery — 
50 or a hundred horse power. With that we can make fortunes. 

But of all this I will write you at more leisure by the next mail. I 
have but a moment left for this. The mining in quartz has just taken 
a start here, and results will be crowding in upon us. The only result 
of great importance that I have obtained in the examination of the 
Mariposas is that we have an abundance of veins, so that we can af- 
ford a good extent of ground to each company. About the richness of 
the veins no doubt appears to be entertained any where. Yours truly, 

J. C. Fremont 
David Hoffman Esqre. 

Still not a line from Mr. Robert 

ALS (NHi — David HofFman Papers). 

1. See Fremont to Mayer, 29 Nov. 1850, which was transmitted to Hoffman. 

2. JCF seems to be referring to Palmer, Cook & Company's lease on the Mari- 
posa Vein, although it could be a vague reference to the 17 Sept. 1850 lease 
which the company located on the Agua Fria. It is obvious to JCF that the Mari- 
posa Mining Company is dominated by the banking firm. 


3. A French engineer, Louis Lacharme had mined gold in South America 
and had received a U.S. patent for his invention of a machine that would save 
gold in the washing process (San Francisco Herald, 17 and 28 Aug. 1852; Patent 
6771 in Report of the Commissioner of Patents for the Year 1849, Pt. I, pp. 95 and 
329, Senate Ex. Doc. 15, 31st Cong., 1st sess.). He became director and sole 
manager of Lacharme & Co. of the French Society which was formed at Paris on 
15 Aug. 1850 to work on the Mariposa. Lacharme seems never to have taken 
advantage of JCF's extension of his lease; rather, on 20 May 1851, with several 
San Franciscans (T. Butler King, John L. Moffat, John T. Temple, Charles G. 
Scott) and John F. Johnson of Mariposa County, he formed the Adeline Minmg 
Company to work the Adeline Vein. Lacharme was to have absolute control and 
management for three years. A few months later Patrice Dillon, Andrew An- 
thoine, and Henry Mathey were added to the company. On 27 March 1852 La- 
charme leased the Mary Harrison Mine but sold the lease a year later to the 
Quartz Rock Gold Mining Company of London (Mariposa County Records 
Book 1, pp. 286-96 [Memorandum of Agreement and Articles of Association of 
the Adeline Mining Company, 20 May 1851]; Book A of Deeds, 27 March 1852 
and 24 March 1853, pp. 161, 210-12). 

4. Probably Andrew Anthoine, mentioned in the note above. 

5. In the course of a few years Pratt Swift acquired interests in the Dahlia 
Vein near the Mary Harrison group southeast of Coulterville, in Lacharmeville, 
and in the Mariquita (Mariposa County Records, Book B of Deeds, pp. 550, 552, 
and Book A of Deeds, p. 162). 

136. David Hoffman to Fremont 

London, 2 May 1851 

[A vague letter referring to two gentlemen (George W. Wright and 
Hiram Walbridge) ' who had arrived in England bringing rich speci- 
mens from California. He thinks the confidence that he and Robert 
have established will be shaken by the imprudence of these gende- 
men, who seem "well intentioned but extremely unsuited to promote 
your or their own objects." "The only Lessee of yours who has been 
firm to your interest and who has fully apprehended the views of 
Mr. Robert and myself is Capt. [William K.] Smith. He understands 
the matter on your side of the Atlantic and on this side. And if full 
powers were originally given to Mr. R. and myself, we would have 
covered your land by this time with the cleverest tal- 
ent and means known in Europe." Fremont's silence pains him. 
Senders copy.] 

1. Hiram Walbridge (1821-70) was a New York merchant who came to Lon- 
don with Wright to promote the Agua Fria for the partners in Palmer, Cook & 

Company. His New York district subsequently elected him as a Democrat to the 
33rd Congress, and in the fall of 1853 he toured the interior cities of California 
and attended the convention (of which Wright was one of the secretaries) being 
held in San Francisco for promoting the Pacific and Atlantic Railroad. His title 
of general had been acquired in 1843 during his residency in Ohio when he be- 
came brigadier general of militia, (biog. dir. cong.; San Francisco Daily Herald, 
4 Oct. 1853). 

137. David Hoffman to Fremont 

London, 13 Half Moon Street, Piccadilly, 10 May 1851, "Private." 

[Hoffman's apprehensions about George W. Wright, who is in 
London, have disappeared. Notes that the Nouveau Monde is making 
great exertions to send out first-rate machinery and that the Mineurs 
Beiges, whose contract is signed, will sail in about ten days. He has 
negotiated several others of 600 feet square, and three English com- 
panies are preparing their papers. 

There is no possibility of his drawing on JCF in California. He 
must have credit in the United States, for example at Corcoran and 
Riggs (Washington, D.C., bankers). 

The £1,250 note and the stock handed over by the Nouveau Monde 
are at his bankers and will be collected when due and deposited to 
JCF's account. 

Grieved that he has not had a line since JCF's 29 Nov. letter. 
Sender's copy.] 

138. Fremont to David Hoffman 

San Francisco, California, May 11. 1851 
My dear Sir, 

I have had the great satisfaction to receive your letter of the [blan/{ 
space], and in return am able to advise you that every thing here is 
going on extremely well. I am not able to give you yet any thing in 
detail. Tomorrow I set out for the Mariposas, & I have more business 
on hand than I shall be able to get through with before leaving. I am 
just about establishing on the lower part of the Mariposas tract a large 
cattle rancho, & in connection with this shall be obliged to extend my 


journey as far south as Los Angeles. I have made some large cattle 
contracts, and shall consequendy be obliged to remove to the north, 
catde which I have in the south. This will interest you as you will 
perceive that I am concentrating my interests on the Mariposas. Mes- 
srs. Lacharme, Antoine & Swift have reached the Mariposas, and I 
will be able soon to give you an account of their proposed operations.' 
As I informed you in my last, theirs is the only lease except Mr. Beale s 
& that of the so styled "Mariposas Mining Company" of Palmer, 
Cooke & Co. which now holds good. When I speak of Beale I intend 
to include the whole concern for which he is agent, viz, Stockton & 
Aspinwall. Now in regard to Sir Henry Hundy I recognize fully the 
justice and soundness of your views in regard to him, but several 
points for reflection present themselves to my mind. Is it not, if for no 
other reason yet for the sake of public opinion in this country, very 
advisable to concentrate European capital upon the Mariposas? And 
will not the effect of this be good in Europe also? So far, the uncer- 
tainty of future tenure, and the absolute want of any at this time in 
the gold region except at the Mariposas, points out this place as the 
only secure point for the investment of foreign capital. Is it not greatly 
expedient to keep this capital there as far as it is possible? And not 
leash it to overcome the difficulties to investment elsewhere. If he does 
not work under a lease from us, he may enter into an arrangement 
with Palmer, Cooke of (the "Mariposas Company") which they are 
proposing to him, and which I should regret to see done. Huntly is 
now here.- I will think the matter over and act for the best. It will be 
well to advise you that the French company, Lacharme &c. is also 
called the "Mariposas Mining Company." In my next I will advise 
you, where agents for the companies you may contract with should 
address themselves on their arrival in this city. I shall be found at the 
Mariposas, where I shall reside with my family. 

This fall I shall set out varieties of fruit trees, and commence agri- 
cultural operations on a scale sufficiently large to make the Mariposas 
known as a place where supplies can be had advantageously. I shall 
endeavor to send you in a few weeks a statement of what kind of 
vegetables or grains have been grown at the Mariposas — their size, 
&c., and any information of value in regard to veins. I have not hith- 
erto been able to do this, because from bad health, & occupation in 
political business I could not myself examine on the spot, and I would 
not send it to you at second hand. My health is now fully established, 
and I am able to undergo all the fatigue necessary in managing the 


press of business which I now have upon me. Renewing to you the 
expression of my satisfaction, with many and earnest acknowledge- 
ments for your successful management of the Mariposas, I am very 
truly yours, 

J. C. Fremont 

I hear that Wright of the firm Palmer, Cooke & Co. has gone to 
England. It is doubdess with the view of interesting capital there in 
the operation of the "Mariposas Mining Co." J.C.E 

May 12. I have decided that it will be the best to sustain you fully & 
have nothing to do with Sir Henry Huntly. Fremont. 

ALS (NHi — David Hoffman Papers). Endorsed. 

1. See Doc. No. 135, n. 3. 

2. Henry Vere Hundy returned to California, worked for an English com- 
pany at "Dicksburgh," above Marysville in Yuba County and in 1856 published f 
anonymously in London a two-volume work entitled Californta: Its Gold and Its 
Inhabitants, by the Author of "Seven Years on the Slave Coast of Africa. ..." 

139. Fremont to Oliver M. Wozencraft 

San Francisco, Cala., May 12, 1851 

Being about establishing a cattle rancho on the Mariposas river, 
neighboring the Indian tribes of the Sierra Nevada, with whom you 
are engaged in treating, I submit to your consideration the following 

I propose to furnish for the two fiscal years commencing the 30th 
of June proximo and ending June 30th eighteen hundred and fifty 
three, all the animals, beef cattle, brood mares, and brood cows, which 
you shall need for the execution of your treaties with the Indian trit)es 
in the district under your direction, and which extends from the head 
waters of the San Joaquin river to the head of the Sacramento. I en- 
gage and bind myself to make the deliveries, in the course of the pres- 
ent and following years, at such times and places within the district as 
you shall indicate, and to commence the deliveries one month after 
the date of notification to me of treaties as they shall be succes- 
sively made. 

I propose to furnish beef cattle upon the hoof at fifteen cents per 
pound nett: brood mares, between the ages of four and six years, at 


seventy five dollars each: and brood cows, between the ages of three 
and five years, at seventy live dollars each. Very respectfully, 

John C. Fremont. 

ALS (DNA-75, LR, California B-17 1852 i'/w Special File No. 266). Attached 
to the document is Wozencratt's acceptance: "I hereby accede to the foregoing 
proposal so far as the furnishing o( present supplies of beef to those Indians with 
whom I may treat, and will urge on the Dept. the adoption of the entire pro- 
posal, so soon as the treaties are approved by the President and the Senate. Very 
Respectfully, O. M. Wozencraft." JCFs proposal, with Wozencraft's acceptance, 
was forwarded by Benton to Col. Luke Lea, Commissioner of Indian Affairs, on 
30 Jan. 1852 with the request that "as soon as the treaties are ratified. Col. Fre- 
mont may be advised of the decision of the Department." 

A physician, Oliver M. Wozencraft (b. ca. 1814) had been a member of the 
convention in 1849 to frame the constitution for California (colton, 412). He 
had gone east and then returned on the Constitution at the end of Dec. 1850 as 
agent, later commissioner, with ill-defined instructions to conciliate the natives 
and bind them by treaty (Alta California, 30 Dec. 1850). For a time he and his 
two fellow commissioners, Barbour and McKee, acted collectively in the nego- 
tiations whereby the Indians would be supplied with food and other comforts 
and given certain lands in return for the cession of others. For the text of the 
29 April 1851 treaty signed at Camp Barbour, on the San Joaquin River, see 

MITCHELL, 102-7. 

On 1 May 1851 the three commissioners exercised their right to divide Cali- 
fornia among them. Wozencraft received the middle district, which included all 
the territory east of the coast range from the San Joaquin on the south to the 
headwaters of the Sacramento on the north. JCF had every reason to expect — 
perhaps even assurance — that future treaties would also call for the delivery of 
both beef and breeding stock, and he was determined to be a primary supplier. 

Wozencraft made his first treaty on 28 May with six tribes of Indians who 
met at Dent and Vantine's ferry on the Stanislaus River; the next was concluded 
with ten tribes at Camp Union on the Yuba River; another was made 1 Aug. 
with nine tribes near Bid well's ranch on Chico Creek; five tribes entered into a 
treaty at Camp Colus on 2 Sept.; and four tribes on the Cosumnes River entered 
into a treaty on 18 Sept. All the treaties promised large amounts of beef (elli- 
soN, 54). 

140. Fremont to George W. Barbour 

Mariposas, San Joaquin Valley 
May 19th. 1851 

Having established a cattle Rancho on the Mariposas river, neigh- 
boring to the Indian Tribes, of the Sierra Nevada, with whom you are 
engaged in treating, I submit to your consideration, the following 


I propose to furnish for the present and ensuing years (eighteen 
hundred and fifty one, and eighteen hundred and fifty two) all the 
animals (Beef cattle, Brood cows, and Brood mares) which you shall 
need for the execution of your treaties with the Indian Tribes, in the 
district under your direction, and which I understand to comprehend 
all that portion of the State lying between the parallel of the upper 
waters of the San Joaquin river, and the southern boundary line. I 
engage, and bind myself to make the deliveries in the course of the 
present, and following years, at such time, and place, within the dis- 
trict, as you shall indicate, and to commence the deliveries one month 
after the date of notification to me of treaties, as they shall successively 
be made. 

I propose to furnish Beef cattle upon the hoof, at the price of fifteen 
cents per pound net: Brood cows, between the ages of three and five 
years, at the price of Seventy-five dollars each: and Brood mares, be- 
tween the ages of four and six years, at the price of seventy-five dollars 
each.' Very Respectfully, 

John C. Fremont 

Copy (DNA-75, LR, California B-10 1852 f/w Special File No. 266). It was 
Benton, again, who left Fremont's proposals to Barbour with Commissioner 
Luke Lea. 

In the division of Indian California, George W. Barbour from Princeton, Ky. 
had assumed responsibility for pacifying the Indians in the southern district, ex- 
tending from the San Joaquin south, west, and east to the state boundary. Like 
Wozencraft, he rapidly entered into treaties with Indians that promised quan- 
tities of supplies and set aside large tracts of lands as reservations. On 13 May a 
treaty was made on King's River with twelve bands; on 30 May one was ar- 
ranged with seven tribes on the Kaweah River; on June 3 another was made 
with four tribes on Paint Creek; and on 10 June eleven bands at Tejon Pass 
signed a treaty (ellison, 51-52). 

1. JCF's terms are the same as those to Wozencraft (Doc. No. 139). 

141. George W. Barbour to Fremont 

Camp Keyes, Cahivia [Kaweah] river, Cala. 

May 28th 1851 

I have received your letter of the 19th instant.' in which you pro- 
pose furnishing Beef cattle. Brood mares, and Cows, to the Indians in 


this (the Southern) district of the State, according to the stipulations of 
such Treaties as have been, or may be, made with the different Tribes. 

Having received no advices from the Indian Department at Wash- 
ington, since my colleagues and myself adopted the policy of supply- 
ing those Indians with whom we might treat, with Beef and stock &c. 
I could not, except to a very limited extent, enter into any uncondi- 
tional contract for supplying those Indians treated with in this (the 
southern) district of the State, but in view of the necessity for such 
supplies, and not doubting but that the proper authorities will readily 
acquiesce in the policy that we have adopted, I should not hesitate to 
make such Contracts as may be necessary to carry out, in good faith, 
the stipulations of such Treaties as may be made with the Indians, 
such contracts of course, being left subject to the approval or rejection 
of the Indian Department at Washington. 

I have had many proposals offered me to furnish such supplies, but 
regarding your offer, as the best, and lowest, of any yet made by a 
responsible man, and believing as I do, that your offer is a fair one, 
I have concluded to close with your proposition, subject however to 
the approval or rejection of the same, by the Indian Department at 

Should this arrangement be satisfactory you can confer with Col. A. 
Johnson" subagent for the San Joaquin Valley who is near you, and 
who will advise you of the time, and place, and number of Beef Cat- 
de, wanted for the Indians in this vicinity with whom Treaties have 
been made. I will advise you as to what will be necessary after leaving 
this valley. Respectfully, 

G. W. Barbour Comer &c. 

ALS (DNA-75, LR, California B-10 f/w Special File No. 266). 

1. See Doc. No. 140. 

2. A former subagent stationed at St. Louis, in 1849 Adam Johnston had been 
the sole federal Indian agent in California. While he did not consider the mak- 
ing of treaties an effective method of dealing with the Indians, it became neces- 
sary for him to assume responsibility for certain reservations after the treaties 
had been made. He actually took upon himself the responsibility for furnishing 
greater supplies of beef than were stipulated in the treaties and was ultimately 
relieved from office after friction developed between him and Wozencraft and he 
began to neglect his duties (crampton, 110-11; ellison, 53). 


142. David Hoffman to Fremont 

London, 17 June 1851 

[A former partner of Senator Gwin of California, Absalam A. 
Halsey, was leaving for the Mariposa to report on his business conver- 
sations with Hoffman and to make two selections of land — 600 by 
600 feet each — for two leases. He was associated with Messrs. Stevens 
& Co. of No. 7 New Broad [?] Street, London, and with "American 
gendemen of long standing and commercial repute here, who have 
associated with C. G. Anthony, Esq. of New York, recently estab- 
lished in No. 5 Wharf [?] Court, London." Senders copy.] 

143. Fremont to Abel Stearns 

Angeles, 20 June 1851 
Hon. Abel Stearns 

The three years have expired, for the term of which were placed in 
your care in trust, the catde purchased by me, as military governor of 
California, from D. Eulogio de Celis, and the government having 
been fully informed by me of the existence and nature of the contract 
concerning them, and not having taken any measures for completing 
the same, or to provide for the payment of the purchase money, or to 
reimburse Mr. Celis in the money which he at the same time ad- 
vanced for the use of the government, I consider that [it] would be 
unjust longer to deprive Mr. Celis of the use and enjoyment of his 
property. I have therefore determined that my obligations in the 
premises will be best fulfilled by requesting that the catde be re- 
delivered to Mr. Celis, together with one half of their increase, ac- 
cording to the agreement under which you received them, when the 
refusal of my successors in office here to conform to the contracts 
made by me for the benefit of the government, caused me to have 
them placed in your care for the security of the vendor. I request, 
therefore, that you will, on the demand of Mr. Celis, redeliver to him, 
or to his order, all the catde which you originally received, and one 


half of all their increase, and thereupon you will be discharged of all 
responsibility concerning the same. Yours respectfully, 

John C. Fremont 
Copy (CSmH). 

144. George W. Barbour to Fremont 

Texon [Tejon] Pass, July 7th. 1851 
CoL. Fremont 

I reached this place yesterday in good health again and found the 
Indians quiet and contented. Today I called the Chiefs together and 
had a talk with them, told them you were coming through with a 
large drove of cattle, and that I would write you a note and request 
you to let them have some. I will therefore be obliged to you if you 
will turn them out some ten or fifteen head. 

The Four Creek Chief happened to be here, he seems favourably 
disposed and I think you need have no fear of passing through with 
your stock. 

Hoping soon to see you on the San Joaquin or Frezno [Fresno] in 
good health &c. I am your Obt. Svt. and friend, 

G. W. Barbour 

ALS (M. A. Goodspeed, Jr., Collection). At the end of June news reached 
Barbour, who was in Los Angeles, of Indian disturbances in the Tulare Valley. 
He decided to travel there although it had been less than a month since he had 
arranged a treaty with seven tribes on the Kaweah River. Tejon Pass was one of 
his stops on the way to the valley. 

1. A reference to Francisco, chief of a Yokuts tribe called Kawia (also Gawia 
and Kaweah). He had been reluctant to sign the treaty negotiated with twelve 
tribes on 13 May at Camp Belt, Kings River. 


145. George W. Barbour to Fremont 

Cahwia River, July 15th 1851 
Col. Fremont 
D[ea]r, Sir, 

Please to deliver to Francisco, Chief of the Cahwia Indians, five 
bullocks, he and his people appear well satisfied altho I have but little 
confidence in him; we reached here today all well. I shall leave in the 
morning for Kings River where we will probably spend a day and 
then move on to the Joaquin where I hope soon to see you in good 
health and spirits. Respectfully, 

G. W. Barbour 

ALS (M. A. Goodspeed, Jr., Collection). The Cahwia River, known today as 
the Kaweah, derives its name from the Yokuts tribe Kawia or Gawia. In the 
1850s the river system and delta were so structured that it was commonly known 
as the Four Creeks (gudde [2]; Doc. No. 144). 

146. David Hoffman to Fremont 

12 Half Moon Street, Piccadilly, London, 18 July 1851 

[Acknowledges receipt of JCF s letters of 1 and 1 1 May, but ex- 
presses anxiety that many of his and Roberts letters may have gone 
astray, since some of their questions are still unanswered and since the 
1 May letter contained the postscript, "Still not a line from Mr. Rob- 
ert." He is also concerned that he has not had a letter from JCF an- 
nouncing "the arrival of the agent of the French Company, Le Nou- 
veau Monde who should surely have reached you within 60 days of 
his departure hence on the 17th March last." Since the transmission to 
JCF of the contract of the Mineurs Beiges, he and Robert have "other 
matters advancing," but the struggle to maintain the public's high es- 
teem for the Mariposa property is difficult in view of JCF s infrequent 
communications. Others reported on his property and disposition of 
various parts of it; how much better it would have been had he and 
Mr. Robert been able to give their own versions "authorized by your- 
self direct." Sender s copy.] 


147. Richard Robert to Fremont 

London, 29 July 1851 

[Robert reassures JCF that he had not neglected his correspon- 
dence as the postscript to one of JCF s 1 May 1851 letters to Hoffman 
had implied. While in Paris he had kept up a daily correspondence 
with Hoffman and had sent letters either directly to JCF or through 
Charles F Mayer. 

Robert writes that the Mineurs Beiges will probably delay their de- 
parture because of the impracticability of sending thirty or forty tons 
of material across the Isthmus. "The best and most prudent plan of 
operation which has been suggested will be to ship all their heavy 
material by the way of Havre direct to San Francisco," and to send by 
the Chagres-Panama route ten or twelve miners and supervisors who 
would carry with them their mining tools only. 

Expects that the first and second expeditions of the Nouveau 
Monde have arrived in California and located on JCF's estate. Notes 
that the company is progressing with "great prudence and caution" 
and is forming an English branch. 

Paco [?y and Colson" Vander-Maesen s ^ Company of Mineurs 
Beiges will raise £8,000 in Belgium and their London agent an addi- 
tional £8,000 or £10,000. "When ready their first expedition of Miners, 
machinery, engineers, tools, etc. will all proceed direct via Cape Horn." 

Roget s health was bad and he had suspended his operations in or- 
der to take the waters of Vichy, but he expected to finance his associa- 
tion with five or six capitalists in Paris. 

La Garde, the Polish company, "will be proceeded with, as soon as 
the summer visitors to the Sea Side and to the sundry island watering 
places return to Paris." 

The preliminary arrangements with these different associations 
and companies had been agreed upon, as well as for another united 
operation from Belgium and Paris. 

"I have only to say that Mr. Hoffman and myself have fought hard 
for the promotion of your interest with the aid and help of a mutual 
friend [Mayer] in all business matters wherein yourself and property 
was in any way concerned." Initialed copy.] 

1. Not identified. 

2. Probably the Colson referred to in the letter of Fremont to A. M. Auguste 
Moxhet, 17 June 1850. 

3. Rene Vander-Maesen had directed the mining operations of the Society of 
the New Mountain in the region of Liege and had excellent relations with the 
workers {Journal des Mineurs Beiges Compagnie, 20 June 1851, copy in Hoffman 

148. David Hoffman to Fremont 

London, July 29, 1851. 
My dear Sir, 

The shortness of the time before the mail closes, and the sudden- 
ness of the astounding revelation which the enclosed copy of corre- 
spondence with Mr. Flandin, and with Col. Benton, will disclose to 
you, will, perhaps, render it advisable for you to read that correspon- 
dence before you read the present letter through.' There are a variety 
of matters altogether proper for me to state to you, which I could not 
with the same propriety have written to either of those gendemen, 
and those matters are quite too numerous for me to unfold in the 
short time allowed me, and yet quite too important to you not to be at 
least briefly alluded to, and they are the following: — 

1. You are quite aware of the fact, that our surprise has to this hour 
been very great, that very many letters of Mr. Robert and myself, per- 
haps quite twenty letters, remained wholly unanswered, and that 
your valuable letters of the 1st and 12th May still make no allusion to 
them, and yours of the 1st of May concludes with saying, "still not a 
line from Mr. Robert," although he must have written quite 100 
pages! This want of ability in me to make any reply to Mr. Powles, 
who desired to know to whom, to what extent, the minimum terim, 
and whether the promised exploration of your party had been made, 
cast that valuable Company wholly off for me. Mr. Powles is the 
president of the San ]uan del Key Company, and was disposed to go in 
very largely, and with an immense capital, or not at all; but he needed 
definite information upon those points, to none of which had I any 
satisfactory reply to make, your illness and subsequent political oc- 
cupations being so numerous. 

2. Then came, in continued succession, a thousand statements as to 
California in general, and quite satisfactory, but not a word of your 
property! owing to the causes just stated. 


3. Then, again, came exaggerated accounts of leases made by you, 
for next to nothing, as to which I could (until yours of the 1st May) say 
nothing satisfactory in contradiction as to those tenants, their lo- 
calities, &c. &c., and nothing very specific even now as to those pioneer 


4. Then, also, came some half-dozen lessees, wholly faithless to you, 
who came here with all sorts of tales, poisoning the public mind, and 
striving to extract money from the public for a seven-years' lease, one 
year gone, and possibly forfeited! Could anything be more destructive 
to your really good leases? 

5. Next followed a succession of doubts raised by unprincipled or 
ignorant persons here, all which 1 had to beat down by force of argu- 
ments, which 1 was enabled to make from my growing familiarity 
with facts obtained from a hundred other sources, and also from my 
familiarity with land, and with Spanish grants, &c., &c. 

6. Then came Mr. Wright and General Wallbridge, looming very 
large, with 30,000 dollars worth of brilliant specimens, full of indiscre- 
tions, and exciting in me all manner of doubts, as I knew they did not 
know the sober sensible habits of John Bull. This conduct greatly 
alarmed me for your interests, and 1 frankly wrote to you on the sub- 
ject; that letter I subsequently qualified, in consequence of their own 
promises to me, and assurances of their friendship towards you and 
your interests, and as to their own prudence.^ 

7. A few more days revealed the fact that, although their specimens 
were making an impression favourable to California in general! yet 
that they were somehow or other making some impressions favour- 
able to themselves alone, for they said to me things which I feared 
they would say to others; as. 

First, that Wrights tide was better than yours! Altogether ridiculous. 
Second. That you had sold half of the whole to Wright! Not a word 


Third. That your tide was laid out upon lands fancifully, and 
merely at your own will!! If they said these things, how scandalous! 

Fourth. That their only object was to strengthen California in gen- 
eral, and thus benefit you, and, of course, themselves. 

Fifth. That Mr. Wright would prompdy return to California, and 
that a Dr. Jackson^ would be left by them here to prepare maps of 
California also to make analyses of specimens, also to see capitalists 
for general purposes in your favour, and not at all in collision with my 
duties to you; and, finally, that he would deliver to me copies of all 


papers I needed, and of all the reports made here of analyses made, 
and that these should be handed to me without delay, in a few days 
after Mr. Wright sailed for the United States, and also some specimens 
needed by me. 

8. Mr. Wright did sail, and also General Wallbridge; and in a few 
days thereafter, I learned as follows, to my great astonishment and 
annoyance: — 

First. That Dr. Jackson would not deliver to me any maps or 

Second. That he would not hand over to me the promised reports of 
the Philadelphia Mint, and of the Bank of England, through the Brit- 
ish Mint as I understood, as to certain analyses, but which since are 

Third. That he would not grant me the use of a single specimen, 
which I happened greatly to need for France at that time. 

Fourth. That he, (Dr. Jackson) for Mr. Wright, was now acting 
solely for P. C. & C, in getting up a Company here, based on adverse 
grounds to you, and asking enormous sums, but keeping me in dark- 
ness as much as possible of all their plans. 

Fifth . I then found that they had taken up with a certain very noto- 
rious speculator,^ altogether in bad odour here: this at once assured me 
of three things, viz., that their association with that person must ulti- 
mately ruin their plans; that their boasting and exactions must either 
injure you equally, or drive all persons inclined to deal in your mines 
to me., as the only legitimate source; and hence of the imperious neces- 
sity of solid and specific information when they did come to me. 

9. At length came again rumors of even their failure of success, and 
also of the return from the United States of General Wallbridge, who, 
though very civil indeed towards me before his departure with Wright, 
has not visited me, although he has been here more than three weeks, 
and before his departure promised much on his return. 

10. After this came your letters, 1st and I Ith May; these were of im- 
mense general service, especially in France; but emissaries from 

came once more to me, respecting your land, and spoke of a large 
operation as to them, but their specific inquiries could not be an- 
swered as to your lands in particular, that is, expressly from yourself., 
and for this they seem now to be waiting. 

11. Some time before that period came also Mr. T. D. Sargent, a 
lessee of yours, with a located grant. He appeared to me entirely a 


gentleman. I examined his papers, he told me he had suddenly made 
up an English Company of great respectability, and that he knew you 
would readily grant him an extension of his lease from seven to 
twenty-one years, and that he would hand over to me for you 2,000£. 
of stock in said Company, which would at once go into operation, to 
the very great advantage of yourself, &c., &c., &c. I examined all his 
papers, was much urged so to do by Captain William K. Smith, 
(most certainly the truest man to your interests in all respects, and 
who to this hour has proved himself faithful, honest, clever, and of 
weight in this community.) Now, as I had confidence then in Sargent, 
(through Mr. Smith), and as I had the power to lease absolutely for 21 
years, I thought the equity of the case enabled me to extend the lease, 
provided the Company would take the chance of its not being for- 
feited by you, and of its being confirmed by you; and also provided I 
found that the Company would proceed. In this state of matters, Sar- 
gent suddenly disappeared, and went to the United States upon an 
object carefully concealed from Captain W. K. Smith and myself, and 
he indebted to Captain Smith for cash loaned to him, Sargent. 

12th. Then followed a letter from Mr. Mayer, stating that Mr. Flan- 
din, your agent, had arrived in Baltimore from California, and would 
probably visit England, to tender his services to Mr. Robert and my- 
self. The object and nature of those services were not in the least inti- 
mated to Mr. Mayer, and that circumstance excited some apprehen- 
sion in me, and caused my letter of the 13th June to Mr. Mayer, to be 
promptly shown to Mr. Flandin, as a preliminary to his coming to 
England at all; because those numerous interferences with all my oper- 
ations could not but distract the public mind, which, / am sure, re- 
poses with confidence on me, and is cast into doubts by such persons 

as Messrs. , and certain other lessees, who only speculated in 

leases for the mere purpose of making something certain for them- 
selves in England! 

13th. Next followed Col. Benton's letter of the 4th, July, stating, 
that you had authorized Mr. Flandin to sell, in fee, half of your Mari- 
posa property, but that he (Col. Benton), recommended Flandin to 
sell all, part cash. 

1 4th. Then came Flandin s letter, 9th July, stating that he had sold 
all for more than double what he asked for the half, but the sum was 
not stated, nor the purchaser. 

15th. A few days more brought me Col. Benton's letter, 12th July, 


stating that Sargent was the purchaser!! who was confident he could 
raise 100,000 dollars as the first payment — but where to be raised 
(whether in New York, or in London), he does not state. 

I have now given you a brief detail to the present hour, and beg 
leave to make some comments thereon, and with my candid opinion 
of the whole matter. 

1. It is altogether certain (and I declare it to you without the least 
flattery), that it is the high prestige of your name alone, that induces 
any one (even greedy of wealth) to think of California as a place of 
investment. It is not possible for me, in this, the brief compass of a 
letter, to disclose to you how certain it is here, and everywhere on the 
Continent, and especially in France, that the United States, and the 
whole world, owe you a deep debt of gratitude for your geographical 
and other labours, and how effectually France ridiculed the first whis- 
perings against your tide, by a shrug of the shoulder, saying, "The 
United States is just — and this gold region and much more, would be 
heartily given to him, if he had no other tide." Such remarks are often 
made, — and even in England the constant reply (as to tide) is, "we 
care nothing about that. Col. Fremont's tide, at all events, is good; and 
even if not, his tenants will never be disturbed." Now, my dear Sir, is 
it not altogether manifest that if yow sell, three things must follow: 

First. The whole prestige of your name (virtually pledged to them) 
must be taken away, and the Companies be p^^nic-struck. 

Second. The world will say, there is neither gold, title, nor truth, in 
all that has been said, nor any gratitude in the country towards you; 
and they will naturally ask. 

Third. What became of the determination not to sell in fee an acre; 
but only to make short leases, at first, for seven years, then, from con- 
viction, for twenty-one years. 

Such, surely, would be the remarks; hnt fancy would, in such a 
case, go infinitely beyond truth, and those inclined to invest, or who 
have invested, would say, "The Colonel has forsaken us at the highest 
moment of our confidence — the news of the 1 1th of May was, that he 
was setded with his family at Mariposa. We regarded that as a protec- 
tion, and now, by the letter of 12th July, all is sold to Americans, and 
we are left to the mercy of a Wall Street Stocky Jobbing Company". Such 
would inevitably be their remarks, and such a state of things would, 
of itself, destroy such a Wall Street Company, not only here, but even 
in New York. 

(2). Such a rumour of sale (if it ever reaches here) would prostrate 


every hope o^ present success. But, if you firmly adhere to your origi- 
nal plan, and resolve to contend through every real and imaginary 
difficulty, and take the cause of all settlers upon your land into your 
own hands and protection, success here and in the United States, and 
with the United States Government, and that of California, must be 
the inevitable result; but the least idea of parting with the property 
(or any part of it, except for cash, which would be understood every 
where as a very proper yielding to necessity, in order to protect the 
residue) must inevitably destroy the whole; for if all or part be sold 
mainly on credit, I feel convinced that the purchasers would pay you 
(if at all) only out of your own gold, but that they would not be able to 
do even this, because it cannot be had without much further expendi- 
tures and cleverness also, than you will find in New York. 

(3). As to Mr. Sargent, the idea is truly ridiculous. It is impossible 
he can have either money or credit; he may summon around him 
some speculators looming large in New York and in London, but here 
with no effect, and in New York with only a temporary one. 

(4). Now, upon the whole, it is altogether certain that if the infor- 
mation come to me (as asked for by my many letters,) if the capabili- 
ties of your property be stated in maps, and if some demonstrations be 
given of what can be done, I can make many good leases in addition to 
those made; all these will then proceed, for the English and French 
both would understand the matter, and be willing to take their 
chances, provided you remained owner of far the larger part, and pro- 
vided, also, you continued at Mariposa, or, even if not, provided the 
gold results (even as a beginning) looked well. But, my dear Sir, so far 
at least, I have no authentic specific accounts from you, though I have 
volumes of my collections respecting California, from 1526 to July 
1851. Such a property needed daily protection from 1848 to the pres- 
ent hour; but, as far as I can learn, it is not possible that any but the 
best, and most experienced, and industrious agents in America, can 
place your property before the public in such a point of view as its 
essential auriferous and agricultural worth entitle it to; and I have yet 
seen no American here to be compared in all respects to Capt. W. K. 
Smith. To me he was a total stranger, he has worn well; and, as a juror 
in the present Exhibition, no name among the hundred stands higher 
for industry, cleverness, and good manners. 

(5.) Your letters, 1st May and 1 2th May, will, as I hope, be followed 
by equally gratifying news to me. I shall carefully watch over your 
interests in every respect; and I do not at all believe that such letters 


are to be cancelled by the weak and inefficient exertions of Mr. Flan- 
din and Mr. Sargent. I need not at all call in question Mr. Flandin's 
motives; but I must think that the most ordinary share of prudence 
ought to have suggested to him two things; first, to commune fully 
with me before he contracted with any body even conditionally; and 
secondly, not to jeopard every thing by trusting such a secret as your 
willingness to sell even any part to such a floating gendeman as Mr. Sar- 
gent, who, however civil and pleasing in his manners, never can ex- 
hibit that solidity requisite for such a contract; especially for the whole, 
and confessedly without the shadow of power so to do. 

(6.) The whole recent affair has greatly wondered Mr. Robert, 
who, I must say, is a mild and honourable and indefatigable gende- 
man, worth a distillation of the said Mr. Sargent. May I again ask 
your patient recurrence to his and my letters, and a brief reply to all 
essentials. Such a man as Mr. Robert would make a resume of our 
voluminous correspondence in the course of a few days. I duly appre- 
ciate and entirely feel the almost impossibility oi your doing so now: I 
know your many occupations — it must be, that you are extremely oc- 
cupied; but any one of your agents {if entirely trustworthy and clever 
with the pen) could read the whole, and suggest, in a short way, re- 
plies to all — leaving to your good self the more important matters. 
Your next letters (not in reply to this) I shall value on, as giving 
me some important results as to explorations — veins — depths — 
riches, &c. 

(7.) And now, my dear Sir, as to a new subject. Do not smile at the 
idea; but I have set my heart upon your visiting England, (as sug- 
gested in several of my previous letters). Were you to visit London, I 
can assure you of three things — first, your reception would be a 
glorious one, from the throne down — second, in a day or two we 
could understand one another better than could be done in a year of 
correspondence — and third, we could in a few days together do more 
effective business than can be hoped for in a year, unless your coming 
letters, maps, &c., &c., be altogether to the purpose. Mrs. Fremont 
could not but be delighted; and all the distinguished clever women of 
Old England would be proud to welcome her. I am a thorough 
American, and only mention such things because they are your and 

her due. Yours truly, 

D. Hoffman 

P.S., on the 12th August, to my triplicate copy of Letter to Col. Fre- 
mont of the 29th July. 


RS. — 12th August, 1851. During the past fourteen days I have only 
to say, that all my conjectures on the 29th July are thus far confirmed; 
and the subsequent correspondence establishes my conviction, but a 
few days more must reveal to me Sargent's actual condition. At pres- 
ent he continues incog., he cannot appear; and though it is possible he 
may for a time mystify a few persons, it must end in a sheer bubble. 

D. H. 

Printed in hoffman, 33-38. Not included in the list of papers received by 
Benjamin Rush from Messrs. Venning, Naylor, and Robins, solicitors. 

1. The "astounding revelation" was Benton and J. Eugene Flandins an- 
nouncement to Hoffman that they had been authorized to sell the Mariposa and 
had sold it to Thomas Denny Sargent, one of JCFs early lessees. Hoffman out- 
lines the sequence of events in articles 11-15 of this letter. Originals and/or cop- 
ies of the Flandin-Benton-Hoffman correspondence may be found in the Hoff- 
man Papers. Excerpts from those letters and some of Sargent's letters are printed 


2. See Doc. Nos. 136 and 137. 

3. William A. Jackson had drawn a very early map of the mining district of 
California which had been published in New York the previous year. He was 
one of Wright's eleven partners in the Mariposa Mining Company. 

4. Stephen Charles Lakeman, a Britisher, was distrusted intensely by Hoff- 
man. Wright, acting for Palmer, Cook & Company, had subleased part of the 
firm's interest to him on 23 May 1851 and JCF gave another lease on 20 April 
1852 (M. A. Goodspeed, Jr., Collection). On 3 June 1853, before leaving England 
to prepare for his fifth expedition, the explorer borrowed £13,000 from Lakeman 
and secured the loan with a mortgage on his remaining one-half interest in the 
Mariposa (Mariposa County Records, Book A of Deeds, pp. 254-59). 

149. Jessie B. Fremont to Charles E Mayer 

San Francisco, Augt. 1, 1851 
My dear Sir: 

Will you please write to Mr. Hoffman who will I fear think 
Mr. Fremont a myth and let him know that letters to him have been 
mailed by Mr. Fremont as late as the 15th May. In the fire of the 
21 June, I, among others, had my home destroyed, but as I had some 
half hour's time all Mr. Fremont's papers as well as the most valuable 
things in the house were saved. In the flutter of such a sudden re- 
moval I did not think to do what I hope is not now too late & write 
telling Mr. Hoffman of the safe arrival of several contracts and many 
letters. All that has been done Mr. Fremont approves of entirely. He 


t' « 


-o* cOi 





i=: Oh 


LI (i: 


, u 







S O 5 

C « ^ 

CO 'u- 
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will be here, I think, certainly before the Steamer of the 15th & having 
been now some time (since 14th May) in the Mariposa in the Mining 
Country to the South will be able to write very fully. 

The papers of this place give generally as much reliable informa- 
tion as exists about the mining in operation throughout the Country. 
The only drawback is the want of Capital without which at the start 
the other expenditures are useless. 

But that too will be alleviated by the consolidation of individual 
efforts & several companies and from what I was told by two very 
disappointed and reliable persons a few days ago the results even this 
summer from Quartz mining will be very immense. 

Mr. Fremont will answer to all the points on which Mr. Hoifman 
asked information. I merely write to let him know the safety of his 
letters and the fact of their having been in part answered although 
from my having been ill at that time I heard no particulars. With 
respects, I am, yours truly, 

Jessie Benton Fremont 
Copy (NHi — David Hoffman Papers). 

150. Richard Robert to Fremont 

London, 1 Aug. 1851 

[Wishes to know if he has received the communications sent to 
him through Mr. Mayer. Wonders if they have been kept intentionally 
from JCF Within a few days he will proceed to Paris to continue his 
operations. Initialed copy.] 

151. David Hoffman to Fremont 

London, 2 Aug. 1851 

[Hoffman dispatches a duplicate of his 29 July letter (with its , 
enclosures) via Chagres and adds a postscript informing JCF that " 


Sargent had arrived in London. He notes that he is enclosing copies 
of Sargent's 1 Aug. letter to him and his own reply of the same date 
and adds: "His [Sargent's] anxiety to secure the confirmed extension 
of his lease for a few hundred feet is in flat contradiction of his having 
bought the whole of your property, or his hope that he can raise here 
or in N. York the proposed post payment! All seems to me a mere 
charlatan effort for sinister purposes. If Mr. Flandin be your partner, 
and also Mr. Wright (as I before wrote to you he says), I do not see 
how it is possible for me to defend your rights, or to prevent all kinds 
of strange doings on their part. ... So far, Mr. Flandin does not pre- 
sent himself to me in any manner whatever as your agent. And my 
legal duty, therefore, is to conserve your rights in every possible way 
until your hand shall reveal to me your wishes and their respective 
powers. I confess, I doubt the whole matter, and rely fully on the let- 
ters you have addressed to me, in which you make not the least allu- 
sion to Mr. Wright, Mr. Flandin, or any one else as competent to in- 
struct me but yourself." Signed copy.] 

152. Fremont to John C. Parrott 

[San Francisco, 5 Aug. 1851] 

[Gives Parrott a mortgage on the Mariposa in order to secure the 
payment of a bill of exchange in the amount of $8,000 which he has 
drawn upon Edward F Beale in favor of Parrott. The loan is for sixty 
days with interest at the rate of 5 percent per month, payable monthly 
in advance. Default entitles Parrott or his assigns to have the property 
sold at public auction in the city of San Francisco after giving three 
days' notice in the public papers. The recorder of Mariposa County, 
Edward C. Bell, noted that the mortgage was filed in his office by 
J. G. Delamare on Monday, 8 Sept. 1851, at 2 p.m. (Book 1 of Records, 
p. 211, Mariposa County Court House). John Parrott acknowledged 
receipt from Edward F Beale of the $8,000 on 6 Sept. 1851 in San 
Francisco before notary public P. Warren Van Winkle. The receipt 
was filed for record on Wednesday, 11 Feb. 1852, at 10 a.m. and re- 
corded at the request of H. L. Parks {ibid., p. 471).] 


153. David Hoffman to Fremont 

London, 11 Aug. 1851 

[Encloses duplicates (in some cases triplicates) of correspondence 
pertinent to the Sargent affair. Sargent "seems now upon his last legs." 
The idea of the sale of a single acre by him, or his purchase of one, is 

The New York Herald's publication (12 July 1851) of the sale of the 
Mariposa had "astounded" Hoffman's companies, but he hopes his 
firmness has restored confidence. JCF needs to publicly deny the sale 
and firmly support him. 

Sargent does not make known his residence in London from fear 
of arrest for debt. His name in any connection with JCF's must be 
prevented. "Messrs. Green and Edmunds' (as I should think), are 
only waiting for further developments, before they venture to cast 
him wholly off. But, even if Mr. Sargent should be still retained by 
them, I cannot ascertain that they have the least power to aid him in 
such a matter. 

"Your affairs are all in a healthy state here and on the Continent, 
and they await nothing more than two things — first, your own replies 
to some of the most important questions heretofore propounded; and 
second, the denial of any sale of your property contemplated, beyond a 
small part for cash, in order to make more effectual your develop- 
ments of your property by yourself The title does not at all disturb 
them; but the more important questions to be answered are the 

"1. Can heavy machinery be taken to the mines, and how? 

"2. Of what weight can be taken by water, say to Stockton? 

"3. Of what weight, and how, are things carried from Stockton to 
the Mariposa mines? 

"4. Specimens authenticated by yourself or agents, as from your 

"5. Maps of your veins. 

"6. What leases by you (not forefeited), to what extent, where lo- 
cated, and the terms of each? 

"7. What number of veins, extent, direction, &c. &c. 

"8. Is there protection present, or expected, for sound and indus- 
trious persons against intruders? 


"9. Is there any water power in connexion with you, what, and 

"10. Are there coals, foreign and domestic, and what average prices? 

"11. What are the elevations of your locations of mines, and of 
those not located, also grades to be passed over? 

"12. What facilities for transporting timber, stone, &c., from the ag- 
ricultural to the mining lands, and what distances? 

"13. Is there any iron on your lands; and if not, can it be easily 
obtained from other places, for various machinery purposes? 

"14. Are there any machine shops for adjusting machinery at the 

"15. Can honest workmen be had, so as to be united with the 
forces that each Company shall bring, and on what terms? 

"16. Can Chinese, Mexican, and native Indian labourers be had, 
and on what terms? 

"17. Can machinery, &c., be transported across the Isthmus, and of 
what weight, and on what terms, and the best route? And finally, any 
other information as to the Isthmus, the Cape, the veins, &c. &c. 

"18. The prices of agricultural lands per acre. 

"19. Will you sell any agricultural lands in fee simple, and if so, 
at what price per acre?" 

Printed in hoffman, 44-45. This letter was not included in the list of 
papers received by Benjamin Rush from Messrs. Venning, Naylor, 
and Robins, solicitors.] 

1. Edmunds not further identified. Green was probably Thomas Green of 
No. 4, Trafalgar Square, who accompanied Sargent to New York in Dec. 1851 
(Sargent v. Fremont [in Chancery], Hoffman Papers). 

154. Richard Robert to Fremont 

London, 12 Aug. 1851 

[Expresses the fear that if JCF has not received his communica- 
tions, they have been "interrupted by some interested, designing and 
victimizing person or persons," and hopes that JCF will make a care- 
ful investigation. 

Expects to have the pleasure of writing to him again by Mr. Vander- 
Maesen and Mr. March [?]' who will travel by the West India Royal 


Mail via Southhampton and Chagres on 18 Aug. "These two gentle- 
men will take with them 12 or 18 miners, and, on the 2nd of Septem- 
ber, Mr. Coulombier' will follow with the remainder of the expedi- 
tion by the same route." 

The reported sale of his estate may injure }CF and his property 
momentarily. Signed copy.] 

1. Mr. March [?] not identified. 

2. Thomas Coulombier was co-gerant of the Mineurs Beiges (Journal des 
Mineurs Beiges Compagnie, 20 June 1851, copy in Hoffman Papers). 

155. Fremont to Pablo de la Guerra 

San Francisco 
August 15, 1851 
Hon. Pablo de la Guerra, 
My Dear Sir, 

I take pleasure in making you acquainted with my particular 
friend, Joseph C. Palmer Esqre,' of this City, who will hand you this 
note. I owe it to your former kindness to say that I am not a candidate 
for the office of Senator, but have entirely withdrawn my name from 
the political field, and so far as my good wishes and active exertions 
go, both are entirely in favor of Mr. [T Butler] King for that office.' 

I have been talking with our friends on the subject and they all 
agree with me that putting aside party questions, Mr. King is alto- 
gether the best man to represent us at this time. 

I do not know what your own feelings may be, but we are all solic- 
itous to engage them in favor of Mr. King, knowing the extent of 
your influence among our Southern friends. Mr. Palmer visits Santa 
Barbara as his friend, and I have given him this letter with the object 
of obtaining for him your friendly attentions. ' 

Being desirous to act in concert with you, I should be glad to have a 
line from you in order to know your sentiments on this subject which 
so nearly concerns us all. Yours truly, 

J. C. Fremont 

ALS (Santa Barbara Mission Archives — De La Guerra Collection). Except 
for his father, Don Pablo was the most prominent member of the Guerra family 


of Santa Barbara and served as a member of the constitutional convention, state 
senate, and judicial system. 

1. Married to Martha Field, Joseph C. Palmer (1819-82) had been a tailor in 
Nantucket before coming to California in 1849. He and his New England 
friends Charles W. Cook and George W. Wright quickly became successful. 
They purchased a schooner, laden with lumber, which they sold at a fabulous 
profit; entered into the express business; and finally, with Edward Jones, went 
into banking and real estate. At first the firm enjoyed an excellent reputation 
and handled the early state bond issues, but speculation and politics brought 
failure to Palmer, Cook & Company in 1856. JCF was always a heavy borrower 
and Palmer maintained a close connection with him to the end of his life, even 
visiting him in Arizona to investigate the opportunities for investment in min- 
ing (Nantucket Vital Records; cross, 1:72-73, 173-75; bosqui, 68; Providence 
Post as printed in New-Bedford Daily Mercury, 2 May 1850; Wee/{ly Arizona 
Miner, 31 Jan. and Feb. 1879; San Francisco Call, 2 May 1882). 

2. The day before JCF penned his letter to Guerra, JBF had written Blair: 
. . . "He [JCF] says I must tell you to prepare yourself for a Whig Senator in his 
place, politics being too costly an amusement in this country just now, but that 
he will come to it with renewed vigor by the next election" (JBF to F P. Blair, 
San Francisco, 14 Aug. 1851, NjP — Blair-Lee Papers). The Fremonts erred, 
however, in declaring that the state "is decidedly Whig." For the second time in 
twelve months King failed in his quest for a U.S. Senate seat; John B. Weller, a 
Democrat, was elected when the legislature met in Jan. 1852. 

3. Dated the same day and likewise written in Spanish and in the same vein, 
JCF gave Palmer another letter of introduction to a person whom he refers to as 
"Muy amigo mio" (CU-B). 

156. David Hoffman to Fremont 

London, 15 Aug. 1851 

["This will be handed to you by Mons. Bourginon of Paris,' who 
proceeds to the Mariposas as Director of the Company called 'Le 
Mineur,' being a sublessee of Le Nouveau Monde Company, and with 
excellent machinery as I am informed." Requests that he extend 
Bourginon every possible aid. 

"I deeply regret to learn today that Stockton and Aspinwall has 
been very unsuccessful. I shall study out the matter before you can 
write to me about it, and duly inform the public (of necessity) of the 
reason of its failure." 

He is still waiting with anxiety for something official from JCE 
"As to the Sargent affair it seems nearly forgotten, he being still in 
'durance vile,' and if he can pay his paltry debts, I suppose he will 
return to N. York. He cannot do anything here. ... I hope by next 


steamer to hear from Col. Benton repudiating his connection with 

"The Prospectus of the Nouveau Monde will be published in a 
few days. All seems to be admirable, but your expected intelligence 
will greatly stimulate them." Signed copy.] 

1. Bourginon not identified. 

157. David Hoffman to Fremont 

London, 16 Aug. 1851 

[Writes that his many previous letters will have informed him of 
the state of things in London. "The Mineurs Beiges Company sail 
t-oday — also the Mineurs Frangais. The Nouveau Monde will send a 
third vessel shortly. No less than 9 other companies are on the tapis 
and are actively employed." The "shocks" and "fresh difficulties" to 
his and Robert's proceedings were caused by the report of the sale of 
the Mariposa and the failure of Stockton & Aspinwall's mine. He reas- 
sures JCF that he has "in Europe a vast field of good operations pro- 
vided three things are right. First, that you have not sold your lands; 
second, that the failure of the Stockton & Aspinwal mine is owing to 
causes clearly distinguishable from the rest of your property; third, 
some reply to my questions propounded in my letter of the 1 1 August. 
As to the Sargent purchase of your whole estate, I pronounce it the 
most shameful humbug that was ever practiced by any one, he being 
wholly without means, and absolutely without credit here and else- 
where." Sender's copy.] 

158. Fremont's Indian Beef Contract- 
Receipt 1 

Receipt for Drafts drawn on the Secretary of the Interior (1) 

[28 Aug. 1851] 

The United States to John C. Fremont 

To two hundred and seventy head of beef cattle, 


averaging each five hundred lbs net weight, left by Alexander Godey 
at different points in the Valley of the San Joaquin for the use of the 
Indians agreeably to the treaties, as follows, viz 

at the Texon 
Tulare Lake 
Cahivia River 
Kings River 
San Joaquin 
River Fresno 


135000 lbs. 

amounting to 

Received at the Military post of Fort Miller, on the San Joaquin River, 
from Col G. W. Barbour, Indian Agent for the United States in Cali- 
fornia, the twenty eighth day of August 1851, the sum of twenty thou- 
sand, two hundred and fifty dollars in drafts on the Hon. Secretary of 
the Interior in full of above amount 

John Charles Fremont 

Copy, enclosure in G. W. Barbour to Luke Lea, 5 Jan. 1852 (DNA-75, LR, 
California B-6 1852 f/w Special File No. 266). 

159. Fremont's Indian Beef Contract — 

Receipt 2 

Receipt for Drafts drawn on the Secretary of the Interior (2) 

[28 Aug. 1851] 

The United States to John C. Fremont 

22000 lbs bee 

[ furnished Indians at Texon 


2500 " " 

Juans Rancheria 


30000 " " 

Indians at Cahivia 


21000 " " 

Kings River Indians 


13000 " " 

San Joaquin Indians 


16000 " " 

at the Fresno by Alexr. 



7500 " " 

At the Fresno by V. D. 
Haler [Lorenzo D. 




28500 " " " at Fresno from Mariposa 

Rancho 4,275.00 

950000 " " delivered Augt. 27th at San Joaquin' 142,500.00 

By draft on Hon. Alexander H. H. Stuart" 10,000.00 


Received at the Military post on the San Joaquin River, from Col. 
G. W. Barbour, Indian Agent for the United States in California, this 
twenty-eighth day of August 1851, the sum of one hundred and fifty 
three thousand, five hundred and seventy five dollars, in drafts on the 
Hon. Secretary of the Interior, in full of the above amount. 

John Charles Fremont 

Copy, enclosure in G. W. Barbour to Luke Lea, 5 Jan. 1852 (DNA-75, LR, 
California B-6 1852 f/w Special File No. 266). 

1. The Indian subagent for the San Joaquin Valley acknowledged receipt as 
follows: "G. W. Barbour Indian Agent for California has this day delivered to 
me nineteen hundred head of beet Cattle to be distributed among the Indians 
south of the Chowchilla River with whom treaties have been formed in accor- 
dance with the stipulations of said treaties. Adam Johnston, Sub Indn. Agt. for 
San Joaquin Valley. Fort Miller San Joaquin River 28th August 1851" {ibid.). 

2. Before deliveries were complete, JCF had asked Barbour for an advance 
payment in the form of $10,000 worth of drafts drawn on the Secretary of the 
Interior {ibid.). This document and Doc. No. 158 indicate that JCF received 
from Barbour drafts on the Secretary tor a total of $183,825. 

160. Fremont to Palmer, Cook & Company 

[5 Sept. 1851] 

This indenture made and concluded this fifth day of September 
A.D. one thousand eight hundred and fifty one between John Charles 
Fremont of the City of San Francisco and State of California, party of 
the first part, and Joseph C. Palmer, Charles W. Cook^, George W. Wright 
and Edward Jones of the same place, parties of the second part, wit- 
NESSETH that the said John Charles Fremont for and in consideration 
of the Sum of one dollar to him in hand paid by the said parties of the 
second part, at or before the ensealing and delivery hereof, the receipt 
whereof is hereby acknowledged, and for other good and valuable 
considerations not herein expressed, has granted, bargained, sold & 


conveyed and does by these presents, grant, bargain, sell & convey to 
the said parties of the second part their heirs and assigns forever all his 
right, title, interest, estate, claim and demand both at law and in eq- 
uity, and as well in possession as expectancy of in and to the equal, 
undivided one half part of all that certain tract or parcel of land, situated 
in the County of Mariposa and State of California and knoam and de- 
saibed as follows: viz Being all that tract or parcel of land in the San 
Joaquin Valley, called "las Mariposas" being ten leagues in extent and 
situated between the boundaries formed by the "Sierra Nevada" 
mountains, the "San Joaquin" river, the "Mercedes" river and the 
"Chauchiles river," which said tract of land was granted by General 
Micheltorena, Governor of California on the twenty ninth day of Feb- 
ruary AD 1844, to Ex Governor Juan B Alvarado and by said Juan B 
Alvarado sold & conveyed to said John Charles Fremont, the deed of 
conveyance being recorded in the Archives at Monterey, California, 
AD 1847. 

To Have and To Hold, with all and singular the rights, privileges 
and hereditaments and appurtenances thereunto belonging or in any 
wise appertaining unto the said parties ot the second part, their heirs 
and assigns forever, for their own use, benefit and behoof as fully as 
the same was held and possessed by the said John Charles Fremont. 

In WITNESS whereof, I, the said John Charles Fremont have here- 
unto set my hand and affixed my seal, the day & year first above writ- 
ten at San Francisco, California. 

John Charles Fremont. [5^fl/] 
Signed, sealed & delivered in presence of us [the four members of 
Palmer, Cook & Company] 
State of California 
County of San Francisco 

On this tenth day of September AD 1851. before me a Notary Pub- 
lic in and for said County, personally appeared John Charles Fremont, 
to me personally known to be the person described in and who ex- 
ecuted the foregoing Instrument and acknowledged to me that he ex- 
ecuted the same freely and voluntarily for the uses and purposes 
therein mentioned. 

Witness my hand and official seal the day & year aforesaid. 

[5<?a/] Henry H Haight 

Notary Public 
San Francisco County, California 


Filed Thursday October 13th. 1853 at 15 minutes of 5 o'clock PM 
& recorded at request of Bradford Jones Esquire. 

Edward C Bell RMC 
By Charles Gray, Dep RMC 

Copy (Mariposa County Records, Book A of Deeds, pp. 323-25). By this in- 
strument. Palmer, Cook & Company received a one-half interest in the Mari- 
posa, although JCF still did not have a title from the U.S. government. 

161. Fremont's Agreement with 
Edward E Beale 

[18 Sept. 1851] 

I hereby acknowledge that I have received from the authorized 
agents of the U.S. Government in payment on a contract drafts pay- 
able to my order to the amount of $183,825; and that according to 
articles of agreement entered into by Lieut. E. E Beale and myself he 
is entitled to 25 per cent, of the above amount after the reduction of 
the sum of $57,130, and a discount of 5 per cent. And I further hereby 
authorize James King of William & Co. at present holding said drafts 
to the amount of $153,575 to pay the above per centage, amounting to 
$29,376, to the order of said E. E Beale; but in case interest should 
become due on the above drafts, by reason of protest or delay in pay- 
ment, a proportionate amount of said interest shall be deducted from 
the sum to the said E. E Beale. 

Signed, John C. Fremont. 

Printed in Daily Aha California, 2 Oct. 1855, in "Law Report," a column 
noticing activities in the Twelfth District Court, principally the case of Edward 
F. Beale v. Fremont. The plaintiff alleged that JCF had received payments of the 
drafts in the hands of James King of William & Co. about 1 Aug. 1854 and there- 
fore by the terms of this agreement owed him $29,376 plus interest at the rate of 
10 percent. The editor has been unable to locate additional information about 
the suit. 



162. Fremont to Thomas Hart Benton 

San Francisco, 1 Oct. 1851 

[With this power of attorney, Fremont authorizes his father-in-law 
to bargain, sell, and convey or to lease all or a portion of the Mariposa 
grant, with the leases not to exceed seven years. He also permits him 
to modify or alter a number of drafts drawn in JCF's favor by George 
W. Barbour, Indian agent, upon the Secretary of Interior, Alexander 
H. H. Stuart. These amounted to $153,575 and had been placed by 
JCF in the hands of James King of William comformable to a con- 
tract that was also being sent to Benton. Fremont's signature was wit- 
nessed by Thos. Manson and P. W Thompkins and notarized by 
John McCracken. The power of attorney was recorded in the Office 
of the Recorder of Deeds, District of Columbia, 22 Jan. 1852, and 
"Exd & Deld. to Lieut. Beale, 22 Jany. 1852." Copy, Office of the Re- 
corder of Deeds, Washington, D.C.] 

163. Fremont to David Hoffman 

San Francisco, Oct. 1, 1851 
My dear Sir: 

You will think it strange that I have so frequently been forced to 
make my correspondence with you consist of a brief note. I will act 
differently by the next steamer. The object of this is simply to say to 
you that I received by last mail a copy of Mr. Flandin s note to you 
and to ask you to regard it merely as an unauthorized impertinence. 
He had no such power as it implied, & I have revoked the power 
which had been given to him for a special purpose. You will confer a 
favor on me by having the enclosed notice published in the Times. If 
Col. Benton could have been aware of the difficulties we have here 
between squatters & dishonest & thoughtless agents, he would have 
modified his opinion of my business capacities. 

[Two-thirds of a page has been blan\ed out.] ' 

The quartz work is acquiring a fixed, known value, & the quartz 


mining is taking the place of washing in the earth among common 
laborers. We therefore believe that next summer the estate would 
command a ready sale at much higher price than is now offered. 

I will write you at some length by the next mail. In meantime re- 
main yours truly, 

John C. Fremont 


[San Francisco, 1 Sept. 1851] 

I, the undersigned John Charles Fremont, of the County of Mari- 
posas, in the State of California, do hereby revoke and declare null 
and void all powers of attorney, general and special heretofore con- 
ferred by me, as well as any and all authority heretofore entrusted by 
me to any agencies, having reference especially to my estate of Mari- 
posas, situate in the aforesaid county of Mariposas, State of California. 
And whereas certain of my former attornies or agents have under- 
taken to exercise undue and unwarranted authority in reference to 
the said estate of Mariposas, and whereas there is good reason to ap- 
prehend that unauthorized persons may illegally and fraudulently at- 
tempt to exercise rights and authority in over and upon the said estate 
of Mariposas — now therefore, I the aforesaid John Charles Fremont, 
do hereby distinctly advise and warn all persons whatsoever against 
entering into any contract of sale or lease, or engagement of any kind 
whatever in reference to the above estate of Mariposas, or any part 
thereof, saving and excepting with the Hon. Thomas H. Benton, of 
Missouri, and David Hoffman, Esquire, of the City of London, Engd. 
to whom I hereby renew and confirm the powers, heretofore en- 
trusted, for making and executing leases upon the said estate of Mari- 
posas, conformable to the written authority held by them, and whom 
I declare to be my sole and only attornies in and for that purpose; and 
I further declare that no other person has any right or authority to act 
in any way whatever in reference to the said estate of Mariposas, or 
for me in any other way whatever. 

John Charles Fremont 
San Francisco, Cala. Sepr. 1, 1851" 

ALS and copy (NHi — David Hoffman Papers). 

1. In a separate place in the Hoffman papers appears a copy of the material 


that had been blanked out of the ALS letter. An endorsement reading "Letter 1 
October Private part" makes the connection. The substance of the "Private part" 
also appears in the body of the letter as it was copied into Fremont v. Hoffman: 
Brief, Bill and Answer, p. 59. In the part which Hoffman deemed "private," 
JCF had written: "In regard to the sale of the Mariposa I have written to Col. 
Benton to ratify provided the purchasing party come fully up to their engage- 
ments within the time fixed. Otherwise and thereafter to entertain no proposals 
whatever from them. I am certainly disposed to rid myself of the trouble of 
managing the property and 2l fixed income would be better than waiting. But I 
regarded the purchase of Mr. Sargent as a mere speculation — on the other hand 
it is very probable that the title will be confirmed this winter" Hoffman added a 
note: "Benton had promised IVi millions for all at least and Wi for half. See 
what Flandin writes — 1,000,000 not thought of for [all], but as to the '/2." 

2. The revocation of power of attorney was endorsed in Hoffman's hand: 
"Proposed advt. of Col. Fremont's. Reed, by me 19 Nov. 1851. By letter dated 
1 October." When the abbreviated version appeared in the London Times, 20 
Nov. 1851, it was dated 1 Oct. 1851 and read: "Whereas there is a good reason to 
apprehend that unauthorized persons have illegally and fraudulently attempted 
to exercise rights and authority in, over, and upon my estates of Mariposa in 
California, I, the said John Charles Fremont, do hereby distinctly warn and ad- 
vise all persons whomsoever against entering into any contract, in Europe, for 
sale, or lease, or engagement of any kind whatsoever in reference to my said 
estates in California, except with my only authorized representative in Europe, 
David Hoffman, Esq., of London." 

164. Fremont to David Hoffman 

San Francisco, California 
October 8, 1851 
My dear Sir, 

I have just completed executing a number of leases which cover a 
large extent of ground at the Mariposas. For this reason together with 
the difficulties always following the least uncertainty of title, I have 
decided to make no more leases, or in any way to take any farther 
action in regard to the Mariposas property, until after the judicial or 
legislative settlement of the question. I therefore write this note with 
the object of advising you of this determination, to the end that you 
may not take any farther action upon the subject in Europe. I send by 
this mail a notice' to the above effect to be published in the New York 
papers, and you will oblige me by causing the enclosed notice to be 
published in the Times newspaper. The course I have hitherto pur- 


sued has caused me a large unproductive outlay, and as I have great 
reason to believe that the question of tide will be definitively settled in 
the course of the coming year, I have thought it most advisable to stop 
all my present business, in that connection, and so avoid all embarass- 
ment that might perhaps result to me from continuing to act in the 
present confused condition of this state. 

I have to make you my thanks for the satisfactory and able manner 
in which you have acted for me, and will be happy to resume our 
business relations & again avail myself of your able services when I 
again resume operations. I have all reason to believe that they will 
then be resumed with force and great profit, as our quartz rock is 
now assuming a fixed, undoubted value. Mr. Moffat, who is of the 
government assaying & coining establishment in this city, has just as- 
sured me that he is now obtaining from his mine at the rate of one 
thousand ($1000) dollars per diem. His mining establishment is about 
10 miles from the town of Mariposas, & has just now got fairly into 
operation. His operations will be the commencement of an era in 
mining here. Mr. Moffat informs me that he has expended about 
$70000, all of which is from stock taken here." 

I am about leaving today for the Mariposas and fearing I should be 
detained there too late for the mail of the 15th write this. Please send 
me a statement of my business with you, and be kind enough to in- 
form Mr. Robert of my determination. I shall write to you regularly & 
frequendy & trust to hear regularly from you, hoping notwithstand- 
ing the interruption of our business relations, to have with you a 
steady correspondence. Yours truly, 

John Charles Fremont 
David Hoffman, Esqre 
London, England 

ALS (NHi — David Hoffman Papers). Endorsed: "Received 18 Dec." 

1. JCF's enclosure not found. See Doc. No. 182 for Hoffman's version of 
JCF s notice to end leasing. It was not published in the Times as JCF requested. 

2. Formerly a New York assayer, John Little Moffat had spent some time as a 
mining man in the Georgia goldfields. In addition to his assay and gold broker- 
age business at Clay and DuPont streets in San Francisco, he was a partner and 
director of the Merced Mining Company, which had commenced operations m 
April on the "Great Johnson Vein" at Mount Ophir northwest of Mariposa 
(CRAMPTON, 189-91). 


165. David Hoffman to Fremont 

41 Conduit Street, Hanover Square, 24 Oct. 1851 

[The Chagres Mail, with dates from California as late as 6 Sept., 
had arrived but Hoffman had not been favored with letters from JCF. 
He had thought his own communiques of late July and early August 
so important that he had sent them in triplicate by various routes. He 
was grateful for Mrs. Fremont's letter (1 Aug. 1851) received through 
Charles E Mayer. 

Notes how he had "quietly" yet "continuously" availed himself of 
his position in society to disseminate "widely and significandy yet 
with dignity sound impressions of the honorable nature of your own 
private as well as public character, and the great & curious quality of 
your estates." It could all have been done "much more easily and 
much more readily" had he and Robert had the desired information 
from JCE 

He hopes that the advance party of the Mineurs Beiges is in Cali- 
fornia and acceptable to JCE He has no doubt found Vander-Maesen 
"anxiously bent" on extracting gold by dissolving the quartz. When 
Mons. Derriey' of Paris, the "gerant" in the Mineurs Beiges, has "tid- 
ings" that his emissaries are satisfied with what they find, he will 
promptly send out heavy machinery and perhaps as many as 300 men. 

Hoffman notes that a second operation from Belgium is intended, 
that "Le Nouveau Monde (French) is in high vigor and adding a dou- 
ble to their last named amount of Capital," and that the Nouveau 
Monde (English) is "ripe." He writes that he is enclosing a prospectus 
for the latter company and that their engineers, the Taylors," are first- 
rate. "In this company is our friend Capt. W. K. Smith," who had 
been energetic in its promotion. The company and its operations 
would have been much more forward had JCE replied when their 
contract was transmitted. 

Hoffman hopes that a desirable contract can be concluded with the 
Bonaparte family. One of the contractors in that private association 
would be Le Chevalier Cipriani,^ Sardinia's consul general in Califor- 
nia, who would introduce £12,000 into California operations. 

The British Mutual is renovating its financial power "with much 
vigor"; Andrew Smith's company was remodeled "under first rate aus- 
pecies"; the Comte de la GardeV second company is forming; Mayles' 
[Moyle's?] Cornish company is in progress; and five more contracts 





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are being sought. The Agua Fria, the Ave Maria, and the West Mari- 
posa profess to fight under JCFs standard, but Hoffman is skeptical 
that the gentlemen in these companies would do much in California. 
The stock exchange was prompdy to be their theater of action. As to 
the Sargent affair, he has no doubt that JCF would prompdy annihi- 
late it. Senders copy.] 

1. Charles Derriey had been collector of taxes for the town of Auxerre, 

2. This is a reference to the prestigious firm of John Taylor and Sons, which 
had been established early in the nineteenth century and which was still in busi- 
ness in London in the mid-1950s. The senior Taylor had been born in Norwich 
in 1779 and had early gained a reputation for his successful management of 
Wheal Friendship Mine, Tavistock. The firm not only would inspect and report 
on mining property all over the world but would endeavor to promote com- 
panies and manage mines (see burt for two of John Taylor's essays on "Cornish 
Mining" and "The Economy of Mining"). 

3. Leonetto Cypriani may never have obtained a lease from JCF, but he did 
acquire mining claims at various points near the Merced River, many ot which 
had been discovered by Louis Victor Nivault (Mariposa County Records, Quartz 
Claims A, pp. 60-62). 

4. Hoffman wrote about the interest of the "Comte de la Garde" in organiz- 
ing companies for mining on the Mariposa, but JBF wrote about his friendly 
interest in her and her husband when they went to Paris in 1852 and how his 
influence put them on the "liste intime" so that they might receive invitations to 
the fetes and balls connected with the government of Louis Napoleon. JBFs 
"grand seigneur" of Old France was Augustin Pelletier, Comte De Lagarde 
(b. 1780), who returned from exile after the restoration of the Bourbons and be- 
came a general, ambassador, and a member of the Chambre des Pairs (j. b. fre- 

a ge 

MONT [l], 253-315; larousse, 10:66). 

166. Fremont to David Hoffman 

San Francisco, Cala., Oct. 29, 1851 
My dear Sir, 

By the last mail I received yours of August 16th, which was there- 
fore about two months on its way. Many things grow old, and many 
changes are operated here in the course of two months, and this 
makes efficient correspondence difficult. I notice that Gregorys Ex- 
press lately carried bullion through to Liverpool in 37 days; and it 
may be well to use this means in any more important communica- 
tions, where time enters into the question. Agreeably to my letter by 
last mail, I proceed to give you current intelligence, which will about 


amount to a reply to your last letter. [So far, no company from Europe 
has commenced operations on the Mariposas]. The Director of the 
Nouveau Monde Company arrived here [a few months since, but en- 
tirely without funds to commence even preliminary work at the mine, 
& without means to make that ordinary respectable appearance which 
I reasonably looked for in the agent of such a company. I had re- 
peated interviews with the gentlemen and Mr. Cavallier, who is also 
an agent for the company, & who made a favorable impression here as 
a man of business.' The time accorded to the company for commenc- 
ing operations had already expired when the director arrived, & I did 
not feel disposed to permit one of our best locations to be occupied by 
a company without means to open it, holding it only for purposes of 
speculation, and resulting in discredit to the mine. We have already 
seen the evils of this thing, & are wary of speculators, and fearful of 
being ourselves compromised. It was therefore, or if not therefore, at 
least as the proper course, agreed that Mr. Cavallier, about to return to 
France, should endeavor to procure such an employment of capital as 
should be a guarantee to me that the company intend to mine seri- 
ously, and that in the meantime no location should be made. With 
such as understanding] I have approved their lease, [extended the 
term within which they are to commence operations], and engaged to 
have a good location ready for them. Should the Mineurs Beiges arrive 
in working condition, we will put them immediately on a good vein, 
[and the same in regard to the Mineurs Frangais\ But they must have 
money to open the mines properly & to put up good machinery. [I am 
not able to tell you how much money Stockton & Aspinwall expended 
at the vein where they failed. But these facts I do know, namely:] 
They^ sunk a shaft perhaps 40 feet deep, & drove in two adits about 
the same distance, put up an engine of seven horse power & a set of 
stamps & during the four consecutive months that the machine was 
kept running, the ore yielded them a litde over forty-one (41) dollars 
the ton. It is a matter of notoriety at the Mariposas that the people 
employed on the vein did not know how to work it. [I learned a few 
days since that examinations had been made of the tailings from their 
mill, that is, of the ore which had passed through & the result was that 
about ten cents of gold was found to the ordinary miner s washing 
pan. These few details are sufficient to satisfy you that their work 
showed nothing for the value of the vein. Other companies now are at 
work on the same vein, & in a short time I will send you the result]. 
We are daily gaining confidence in the richness of the veins & in their 


performance. We have also discovered a beautiful method of obtain- 
ing the gold from the rock, and about the 1st of Jany. I will give you a 
statement of results. I have decidedly declined any sale of the Mari- 
posas. To my next I must reserve what I shall further have to say; and 
in the mean time, remain with regard, truly yours, 

J. C. Fremont 

ALS NHi — (David Hoffman Papers). Endorsed: "Important." Penciled on 
the letter: "Rec'd Dec. '51 before letter of 8 Oct." Bracketed material was deleted 
from the letter as printed in hoffman, 59. 

1. Probably Edmund Cavallier, who was residing in San Francisco in 1854 
(San Francisco Daily Herald, 2 April 1854). It is not clear from ICF's letter that 
Cavallier actually came to California with the Nouveau Monde Company. 

2. In the prmted version "One party" was substituted for "They." 

167. Fremont and George W. Wrights 
Contract with Adam Johnston 

[1 and 11 Nov. 1851] 

We the undersigned hereby agree to sell to Adam Johnston, U.S. 
Indian Agent, Twelve hundred head of Beef Catde now on the litde 
Mariposa averaging five hundred pounds each, at the sum of Seventy- 
five Dollars per head to be delivered to the Indians of the valley of 
San Joaquin as per order from Adam Johnston Agent. 

Also 1000 half sacks of Flour to be delivered on the Litde Mariposa 
at the Rancho of Col. J. C. Fremont for the use of the Indians of the 
Valley of San Joaquin. 

Nov. 1st 1851 (signed) G. W. Wright for 

John Charles Fremont 

Received San Francisco Nov. 11. 1851 of Coin. John Charles Fre- 
mont Twelve hundred head of cattle and one thousand half sacks of 
Flour delivered on the little Mariposa river for the support of the In- 
dians in the Valley of San Joaquin for which drafts have been drawn 
upon the Secretary of the Interior of the date of this receipt.' 

(signed) Adam Johnston 

U.S. Indian Agent 

Valley of San Joaquin 


Copy (M. A. Goodspeed, Jr., Collection). In the same collection is a private 
memorandum by George W. Wright indicating that the half-sacks of flour were 
sold at $30 each and that a total of $120,000 was received in drafts on the Secre- 
tary ot the Interior. Wright maintained that Johnston understood that there 
were not sufficient cattle on the Mariposa to fulfill the terms of the contract im- 
mediately, but that supplies would be available eventually for daily or weekly 

Wright then arranged to purchase 2,634 head of cattle from Felix Argenti, 
who in turn claimed them from Mariano G. Vallejo in settlement of a debt. In 
April 1852 Alexander Godey drove the cattle from Vallejo s Sucol Ranch to the 
Mariposa. Still later Wright testified that at $16 per head he had paid Argenti 
twice the value of the cattle. The high price was given because Argenti had been 
willing to take the Johnston drafts, already protested, and had agreed not to look 
to JCF "in any event" for payment (Deposition of George W Wright, 22 Jan. 
1857, in Orestes P. Quintard v. Fremont, M. A. Goodspeed, Jr., Collection). 

1. The Court of Claims ultimately decided that the federal government had a 
total financial responsiblity of $60,000 under this contract. Since there was "no 
clear and distinct evidence of delivery" of the flour, no claim for its provision 
was allowed, and since an inferior kind of cattle was delivered, the "beef claim" 
was reduced from $90,000 to $60,000 (Fremont, for the use of Jackson, v. The 
United States, 2 Court of Claims Reports, Dec. Term, 1866, pp. 461-81). Jackson 
and Munro held drafts for $20,000, but since the court had earlier decided that 
an action had to be in the name of the original party to the contract, so as to 
protect the equitable right of all the holders of the drafts, they probably had to 
give JCF a portion of their recovery of $13,333.33. Two years later the court de- 
clared Fremont theoretically entided to recover $46,666 (two-thirds of $70,000 
outstanding after the Jackson decision) upon the original contract and specifi- 
cally $18,666, since $28,000 of the drafts were in his possession (although $14,000 
had been lost by Wright). John Roach, as Baker s administrator, held $42,000, but 
the validity of his claim had yet to be established (John C. Fremont, in his own 
right, and for the use of Roach and another, executors of Baker, v. the United 
States, 4 Court of Claims Reports, Dec. Term, 1868, pp. 252-57). 

168. Fremont to David Hoffman 

San Francisco, Nov. 4, 1851 
My dear Sir, 

Accompanying this I send you the [San Francisco] Herald of Sun- 
day. I am surprised that I do not oftener send the journals of the day 
here, as they almost always contain information of value relative to the 
gold mines. Did I tell you in my last anything of an improved method 
of extracting the gold which we have discovered on our place .-^ As I do 
not remember having told you & cannot conveniently refer, I will run 
the risk of telling you the same thing twice. I should not say we have 


discovered, as it was discovered solely by a gentleman who is engaged 
in mining at the Mariposas — one of my lessees' — neither ought I to 
characterize it as an improved method, because in application and in 
principle both it is wholly new, and in practice proves admirably suc- 
cessful. As soon as I am at liberty to do so, I will describe it to you 
fully, and in the mean time you may judge of it by this statement, 
namely. His stamping mill is a small one, driven by an engine of seven 
horse power, and the powdered ore is, as usual, conducted from the 
mortars by water over what are called shaking tables, which of some 2 
feet by 3, and of these there are three. By this discovery the ore which 
planed over a space of two inches square on one of these tables gave in 
24 hours two ounces of amalgram, equal to about one third of an 
ounce of gold. This was an experiment on a small scale, but you can 
judge what it may be when applied in grand. Yours truly, 

J. C. Fremont 

ALS (NHi — David Hoffman Papers). 

1. In his 22 Dec. 1851 letter to Hoffman, JCF identifies the discoverer of the 
new process as Frederick Goodell. 

169. David HoflFman to Fremont 

41 Conduit Street, Hanover Square, 10 Nov. 1851 

[Hoffman again laments that he is without advices from JCE 
"Your last letter is one of the 1 1th May, and one from Mrs. Fremont of 
the 1st Aug." 

JCF's economic interests were advancing even in the face of "the 
strange operations which are being worked in this Town under cover 
of your name and by means of some of your seven-year leases, now 
five, and forfeitable — possibly forfeited." They had been granted by 
JCF in "the faith" that the lessees would early operate with American 
capital and machinery. The Wright and Walbridge party was seeking 
to obtain capital with the Agua Fria, as was Sargent with his two 
leases now bearing the names of the West Mariposa and the Ave Ma- 
ria. Sargent was also asserting that JCF's powers to Hoffman were 
revoked or superseded and that he and Col. Benton had arranged 
"a purchase of the half of your Estates, and in all probability the 


In spite of the disagreeable situation, Hoffman insists he is still op- 
erating "most importantly." "The Nouveau Monde on coming out to- 
day has passed immediately to a premium of £1.10 per share and will, 
we expect . . . rise much higher." In the company he had secured for 
JCF notes in the amount of £950 and £250 and 13,275 shares. Two 
thousand shares had also been obtained from Capt. Smith and Mr. 
Jackson for an extension of their seven-year leases to twenty-one. The 
London Mariposa Gold Mining Quartz Company had all its capital, 
and Lord Erskine's British Mutual, which had changed its name to 
the Quartz Rock Mining Company, had two-thirds of its capital. 

170. Fremont to the Philadelphia and 
California Mining Company 

San Francisco, Nov. 10th, 1851 

The object of this note is to inform you, that I have become inter- 
ested in the mining operations which you propose to carry on at Mari- 
posa, and have consequently this day executed to you, a lease of 
mining land, of unusual extent and privileges.' In doing this I have 
acted principally on the representations of the Hon. Mr. Wright, who 
informs me that your Company, has at command large capital, which 
they design to employ in working the mines faithfully and giving 
them their full development for the benefit of all who may be con- 
cerned. Believing that mining operations so conducted would be emi- 
nendy successful, and having at my command a large extent of min- 
eral ground, I have associated myself with your enterprise, and have 
accordingly assigned to the Company, locations which, as you will see 
in the lease, are very large and which comprise the best situation and 
the most valuable veins at this time known to be on the place. 

I am desirous to aid the operations of the Company by giving them 
all the advantages in my power, and to this end have granted them the 
right to occupy and work any more valuable vein which may hereaf- 
ter be discovered, and will be glad, in other ways which may offer in 


the progress of the work, to contribute to their success,^ and in the 
meantime, I am very respectfully, Your obedient servant, 

John Charles Fremont 
Messrs. Solomon Alter, John L. Newbold, and others 

Printed in Articles of Association of the Philadelphia and California Mining 
Company, pp. 15-16 (CHi). The brain-child of George W. Wright, the Phila- 
delphia and California Mining Company had been in the process of organizing 
for more than a year. Along with Hiram Walbridge, Wright was one of the di- 
rectors (and a few days later president) when the company made an agreement 
with Palmer, Cook & Company whereby the latter gave the Philadelphia com- 
pany access to its 600-foot-square lease on the Mariposa River, which it had ob- 
tained from JCF and "upon which there is a large quartz vein of gold." In return 
the San Francisco banking firm received 11,000 of the 25,000 shares of stock val- 
ued at $20 a share (Articles of Agreement, 14 Feb. 1851, ibid.). The eastern com- 
pany immediately sent H. S. Parke, a native of Philadelphia, to examine the 
veins on the Mariposa as well as most of the "theatres of active operations in 
California." Parke's official report extolled the possibilities of the New Britain 
and Heap veins upon which JCF had already granted leases to the company. 

1. On 10 Nov. 1851 JCF, "for and in consideration of the sum of two hundred 
and fifty thousand dollars," specifically assigned two locations to the Phila- 
delphia and California Mining Company. One was on the Heap and Sargent 
vein; the other one was on the New Britain (Philadelphia and California Mining 
Company Lease, 10 Nov. 1851, Mariposa County Records, Book D of Deeds, 
pp. 360-64). Fifty thousand dollars of the stipulated amount may have been in 
cash; the balance was certainly in shares, and the company soon reorganized in 
order to meet its agreements with JCF. In the new stock split and $2 million 
capitalization, JCF received 40,000 shares valued at $5 each. He and Senator 
William M. Gwin were added as directors of the company. 

2. The company never really operated on the Mariposa. The steam engines 
and stamps it sent out in 1851 were thought to be too light and were "temporar- 
ily" stored at Stockton, but the Articles of Association, p. 20, assured the public 
that they had "a sufficient extent of valuable veins for the supply of a great many 

171. David Hoffman to Fremont 

London, 20 Nov. 1851 

[Acknowledges receipt of JCF s 1 Oct. letter — the first since 1 1 
May — with his proposed advertisement, dated 1 Sept. "I now send 
you the advertisement inserted by me in 5 papers.' Under the excited 
state of this country it would not have been proper to insert verbatim 


the one prepared by you on the 1st Septr. for the least idea of your 
seUing an acre in fee would go a large way to stop everything. . . . We 
are astonished that the Nouveau Monde contract, though sent to you 2 
months ago, has not been ratified, and that it is said you refused 
them. ... It was then thought very lighdy of, but much higher now, 
since it has become united with a British Branch in London, to raise 
£200,000 after which I sent to you the new contract and Prospectus, 
embracing in all just 4200 feet by 600 feet — that is, 2400 feet lease by 
me and 1800 feet by my extension of the 7 year leases made to Capt. 
W. K. Smith and Baldwin, the three each of 600 feet."^ 

He relates that contracts are executed for JCF to receive about 
£14,800 in cash or about $74,000, a part of which Hoffman had re- 
ceived and the residue of which he hoped for in a few days. To this 
would be added £37,000 or about $185,000 which the lessees had de- 
posited in the bank, with Hoffman's name as trustee, until sites were 
selected and the leases approved by JCE Hoffman expected the total 
of £51,800 or $259,000 to be extended "to quite £80,000 or $400,000," 
and this for not more than 23,800 by 600 feet of land. In addition 
to cash, JCF would have 100,000 one-pound shares in the various 

Hoffman requests that JCF send him: "As neatly a prepared Power 
of Attorney as can be drawn [the original had a piece cut out], with 
the amplest powers"; specimens authenticated as to localities and 
depths; statements as to the location of his mines and especially those 
actually located, the known veins and their direction; all geological 
developments; and "as much of your replies to my previous questions 
as shall remain unanswered when you receive this letter." 

He again expresses the hope that JCF will visit London and that 
Sargent will be driven off entirely. "I must add that I abhor the artful 
proceedings of General Wallbridge as to the Agua Fria, but I have 
observed profound silence as to him because really you never told me 
a syllable about him or the Agua Fria. He has done some good, and 
much mischief. He has yet but a 7 year lease, so far as I know, and I 
hope he will never get an extension to 21 years, except through your 
authorization to me. . . . They say P[almer], C[ook] & C[ompany] 
has sent an extension of the lease from you; but Col. W[albridge] ex- 
pressly stated to me that no one had seen it, and yet when I applied to 
him to see it, he stated he had parted with it for a short time!!" 
Hoffman notices that the advertisement in the New York Herald of 


12 July 1851 had appeared again in both New York and London pa- 
pers. Sender's copy.] 

1. For Hoffman s advertisement, see Doc. No. 163, n. 2. 

2. The new contract between Hoffman and Fabien Paganelli di Zicavo of Le 
Nouveau Monde Gold Mining Company was dated 8 Nov. 1851 and is in the 
M. A. Goodspeed, Jr., Collection. The prospectus was published in the London 
Times, 10 Nov. 1851. 

172. David Hoffman to Fremont 

London, 25 Nov. 1851 
My Dear Sir, 

Your letter [of] 1 October sunk me to the earth! Surely Sir you 
have dealt harshly with yourself, cruelly with me, though I feel it to 
be quite impossible you intended it. You have taken the whole matter 
out of the hands of honesty, devotion, faith, to entrust it all to villainy. 
My only hope now is that your recent letter will show clearly that 
your eyes are opened and also that a paltry first payment will not be in 
time. I enclose copy of my last to Col. Benton and trust for all our 
sakes that rascality (under God) cannot be permitted to prevail. If all 
is made right by Co. B. and yourself your property is worth 10 times 
as much as Sargent promises. Why didn't my good counsels avail. 


Copy initialed (NHi — David Hoffman Papers). 1st endorsement: "Mariposa 
sold! ! ! " 2nd endorsement: "Probably not sent [I think now it did eo] Again. It is 
quite impossible it could have been sent on the 25 Nov. if the 20 [?] Nov. letter 
went — also a mystery." 

173. Francisca Villa de Dominguez 
to Fremont 

[27 Nov. 1851] 

Agreement made between D[on]a Francisca Villa de Dominguez 
of one part and Don Juan Carlos Fremont of the other part: Said 


Senora has sold and by these presents does sell and make over in per- 
petual transfer to the said Senor Fremont and his heirs, for the sum of 
Two Thousand dollars to her paid and to her satisfaction, all the in- 
terest, right and ownership which she has in the tract of land called 
"Rancho de San Emidio," situated in the County of Santa Barbara 
and the same that was granted to the late Senor Don Jose Antonio 
Dominguez, the 14th day of July 1842, it being understood that the 
portion sold is the half of all the right and estates of said rancho, leav- 
ing the other half of the said rancho to the benefit of the sons and 
daughters of said Senora Da. Francisca Villa de Dominguez jointly 
with the half of the minerals which might hereafter be discovered. 

We certify to this by our signatures and seals on this twenty- 
seventh day of November 1851, it being well understood, that if in the 
part purchased by the Senor Fremont there should turn out some 
mines, the said Da. Francisca and her heirs shall have the right to the 
half of them, and the Senior Fremont shall have the same right in the 
other part. 

We certify to this by our signatures and seals date as above, 

Assenting witnesses, (Signed) Francisca .Villa Dominguez 

Anast[asi]o Carrillo (Signed) John Charles Fremont 

Nicholas A. Den 

State of California, County of Santa Barbara, this day twenty- 
seventh of November of the year 1851, appeared personally before me, 
Notary Public of said County, Da. Francisca Villa and Don John 
Charles Fremont, whom I certify and know to be the persons, who 
made and agreed to the foregoing instrument, and are described 
therein, and who declared to me to have made it fully and voluntarily 
for the purpose and uses therein mentioned there being as witnesses 
Don Anastasio Carrillo and Don Nicholas Den, I certify. 

(Signed) R. Carrillo 
Private Seal Notary Public 

I certify the foregoing to be a correct translation. 

(Signed) Geo. Fisher 

Filed in Office February 10th 1853 

(Signed) Geo. Fisher, Sec. 


Copy, translation (DNA-49, California Land Commission, vol. 19 [25], Rec- 
ord of Evidence, Case 556, pp. 39-40). The petition of the Dominguez heirs was 
rejected by the California Land Commission on 26 Dec. 1854, largely because 
the attorneys had mishandled the case and failed to submit the proper proofs 
{ibid., no. 29 [vol. II], Decisions, p. 429). Rufus A. Lockwood petitioned for a 
second review and the title was confirmed on 19 June 1855 {ibid., no. 17 [vol. 
XI], Evidence, pp. 667-68, 646-49, 667-68, 678-80, and no. 30 [vol. Ill], Deci- 
sions, pp. 73-74). The patent to this ranch of 17,709.79 acres was not given until 
1866 (gates [l]). By that time JCF's monetary difficulties had forced him to 
make a temporary consignment of his property to D. W. Perley, a San Francisco 
lawyer, but he succeeded in getting a reconveyance (Fremont to T. W. Park, 23 
April 1860). He then deeded his undivided interest to Mark Brumagin to hold in 
trust for his niece, Frances Cornelia Fremont (called Nina), the wife of Henry 
M. Porter. The trust ended in 1867, and m 1869 she deeded all her rights to 
Edward F. Beale, who was building up his great empire known as Rancho El 
Tejon (Brumagin, Fremont, and Porter Indenture, 8 Jan. 1867, and Frances Cor- 
nelia Fremont Porter to Edward F. Beale, 18 Feb. 1869, Kern County Records, 
Bakersfield). Joseph C. Palmer and his wife, Martha, also had some rights in San 
Emigdio and made deeds to Robert Page and to Edward F. Beale in 1869 (un- 
published paper on San Emigdio Rancho, compiled by Mrs. Douglas Allen, 
Bakersfield Public Library). 

174. David HofFman to Fremont 

10 Conduit Street, London, 9 Dec. 1851 

[Expresses disappointment in not receiving the communique prom- 
ised by JCF's letter of 1 Oct. "It is painful to me to have to write you 
that stagnation — at least suspension of the incomings for you has fol- 
lowed so immediately on the ripening of my long sown seed into a 
rich and golden harvest. ... I was receiving (or about to receive) at 
the rate of 5000£ a day until Sargent published Col. Benton's letter 
and the Flandin contract. The shares and money must have exceeded 
£80,000 for remittance to you when the stroke came ! " He expects an 
immediate reversal if JCF would confirm his powers fully, revoking 
all others, annul all of "Sargent's pretensions," and confirm all leases. 
"Confidence will return and your stock will go largely up. . . . All 
adhered to me personally, but Col. Benton has alarmed them greatly. 
My pen against him is, of course, restrained. It is now for you alone to 
save your estate, your name., and in some degree my honour. I wait 
your full reply." Sender's copy.] 


175. Fremont to Benjamin D. Wilson 

San Francisco, Dec. 10, 1851 
My dear Sir, 

I have just received yours of the 23d. Novr., asking me information 
in regard to the contract. You will have already learned from Mr. 
[Henry] Melius that in anticipation of difficulties I have paid in ac- 
cepted checks on the House of Palmer, Cook & Co. (of this city) all of 
my liabilities in your neighborhood, except those of the purchase from 
[Antonio Jose] Cot. Among those paid in this will be included 
[William] Workman's. I find now that my anticipations were fully 
justified. The drafts given me in payment for cattle by the United 
States Commissioner, Col. G. W Barbour have not been accepted by 
the government, but have been dishonored by the Secretary of the In- 
terior on whom they were drawn & returned to me protested. For 
some of those which I had procured to be discounted here I am liable 
to action as the endorser. I shall now have to request Cot & Menendez 
also to receive accepted checks on Palmer, Cook & Co. for the amount 
which will be due them at the end of this month. This will give me 
time to perhaps meet their other payments as they become due. Pal- 
mer & Cook agree to make the advances in this way. This is the best 
arrangement I can make & under the circumstances I think it is a 
good one for those from whom we purchased, as there is no knowing 
how many sessions of Congress will lapse before the drafts are paid. 
Will you do me the favor to explain to Ro[w]land & Workman how 
things stand. The only inconvenience to them has been a little delay, 
which I hope they will overlook. 

If there is any thing I can do for you here, let me know. The Land 
Commission has advertised to commence its sittings on the 31st of this 
month. One of the Commissioners, Mr. [Hiland] Hall, is sick with 
Panama fever, and his eldest son died of it at 12 last night. The Pacific 
came in last night, but I believe has not brought the other Commis- 
sioner, Harry J. Thornton! ' Yours truly, 

John C. Fremont 
B. D. Wilson, Esqre. 
Los Angeles 

ALS (CSmH). 

1. In addition to Hall and Thornton, President Fillmore had appointed a 


third Whig, James Wilson, to the Board of Land Commissioners. The commis- 
sioners were to consider claims in California and to determine whether they 
conformed to Mexican law. In 1853 President Pierce appointed an entirely new 

176. Fremont to Charles E Mayer 

San Francisco, Ca. Dec. 11, 1851 
My dear Sir, 

On my return to this City a few days since I had the pleasure to 
receive your note of October the 16th accompanying duplicates of let- 
ters from Messrs. Hoffman and Robert. A duplicate or perhaps the 
original of Mr. Hoffman's letters had already reached me some weeks 
since, and perhaps in my notes to him I may have acknowledged its 
receipt. Generally however, I have written briefly and always to some 
particular point. 

Our friends are altogether wrong to infer that there is anything 
mysterious or unfair in the failure of their letters to meet me. In the 
first place there has been general complaint on the same subject, & in 
the second, I have been almost constantly in the remote interior, trav- 
elling from place to place, and much more rapidly than the mail, or 
the careless and chance means of transmitting by travellers. In this 
way, letters might (& have) have travelled after me for months and 
finally reached me when their contents were obsolete. 

I will take care to exonerate you from any neglect of them, by in- 
forming them (or rather Mr. Hoffman) of your earnest representa- 
tions to me on the score of my neglect. And now in regards that, "The 
replying to the many inquiries that were addressed to me by our 
friends on the subject of the Mariposas," I will simply say to you that I 
did not reply to those inquiries because of the absolute impossibility to 
do so. 

All the knowledge in my power to give, was general and had been 
already given. As regards my title to the property, I believe it to be 
good, & fully believe that it will be recognized by the United States. 
More I could not say until the legal investigation had taken place. I 
had already described the place, its extent and character, its great fer- 
tility. I had mentioned its numerous gold veins and stated their char- 


acter as far as partial analysis could give it (a means of information 
very uncertain) and I had informed them that gold was to be found 
nearly over all the land and up to the present I had occasionally in- 
formed them that whatever knowledge we had been able to obtain 
confirmed what we had previously reported. What more could be 
done? To obtain more required absolutely the very thing they were 
endeavouring to accomplish in England, namely such an employment 
of Capital as should open up these veins should [they] go down 2 and 
3 and 500 feet into the earth, what the veins are, whether they get 
richer or poorer as we go down, whether they become larger or 
smaller — whether they become permanent and authorize employ- 
ment of large capital, or whether they give out entirely. These are the 
only questions which they should require to be solved. I think that a 
few months will go some way to elucidate them. At present I can only 
say and shall say to Mr. Hoffman in my letter of today that we have 
upon the Mariposas a Gold vein apparently permanent (in the sense 
above mentioned) to which the history of gold mining the world over, 
as far as I am acquainted with it, affords no approximate parallel. I 
say a vein, we may have many such, we have many such, of the same 
superficial indications, but we cannot know them till we go down 
upon them. But of this one we know, and from it might reasonably 
argue that the others are so, and if I answered his question loosely, I 
should at once jump to the conclusion, and say that they are so. But in 
matters of business, where the information I give is expected to be a 
basis, I shall not state opinions as facts but wait until the facts develop 
themselves. In the meantime, ask them to remember that the thou- 
sand speculators who are holding California up to the view of the 
world write extravagantly, for or against, according to their local in- 
terests, and that California illustrated by the father of lies with a Cor- 
nucopia at his mouth would convey to them a good idea. I will shortly 
send a statement of the mine and in meantime remain Yours truly, 

J. C. Fremont 
Charles E Mayer, Esq. 
Baltimore, Md. 

ALS (NHi — David Hofifman Papers). Mayer retained a copy and forwarded 
the original to Hoffman, who received it in Feb. 1852. 


177. Teodoro Arellanes to Fremont 

Santa Barbara Dec. 12, 1851 
To THE Colonel 
Don Juan Fremont 
San Francisco 
Dear Sir: 

I had the pleasure of receiving your kind letter of the 30th of last 
month and in reply, permit me to say that with respect to the delivery 
of the two hundred and fifty cattle my son Antonio Arellanes went to 
the Rancho de Guadalupe to meet Sr. Luna but since the said Sr. 
wanted to accept only selected [escogida] cattle my son was not in a 
position to deliver to him in this manner — because you will remem- 
ber our agreement at the house of Don Nicolas Den' — that I prom- 
ised you to deliver the two hundred and fifty cattle but it would be 
impossible for them to be selected first because I had no obligation 
and second that the weather did not permit setting up a rodeo — so 
you will see that I have tried in good faith to comply and only for this 
reason of wanting to receive selected cattle Sr. Luna did not take de- 
livery — my son offered to deliver the cattle as they came in a small 
rodeo which could have been done — but Sr. Luna refused this saying 
that he would only accept selected cattle — which you must know was 
impossible, either according to our obligation or because of the 
weather which did not premit. 

You must see that I have had enough expense in this affair — in 
getting a cavalcade and people etc. to fulfill my obligation to you — I 
am very sorry for you as well as for myself but what shall we do — 
it was not my obligation to deliver selected cattle — moreover the 
weather did not permit for the very bad state of the cavalcade and the 
cattle Mariposa [pencilled in\. 

I hope that you will take into consideration these reasons which 
seem to me to be the true ones — and I shall always hold myself at 
your disposition. I sign myself as your attentive servant and friend, 
Q.S.M.B. [who kisses your hand]. 

Teodoro Arellanes 

ALS in Spanish (M. A. Goodspeed, Jr., Collection). Translated by M. K. 
Swingle of the California Historical Society. Described by H. H. Bancroft as a 
"man of genial temper and gentlemanly manners, locally a kind of ranchero 


prince," Teodoro Arellanes was one of the owners of Rancho Guadalupe in the 
northwestern corner of Santa Barbara County (pioneer register). 

1. Nicholas Augustus Den (ca. 1812-62) was an Irish physician who in 1836 
came to Santa Barbara, where he became a very wealthy land owner and stock 
raiser (pioneer register). 

178. Fremont to Abel Stearns 

San Francisco, Dec. 12, 1851 
My dear Sir, 

I desire to sell my portion of the lots at the mission (San Francisco 
d'Asis). I think it better to sell now before any action of the commis- 
sioners, as there are parties here, Forbes & Co., I believe, who hold a 
title for the whole mission property.' 

If you are desirous to sell, let me know in reply to this, and say 
what you would like to have done, or what you will probably ask for 
your property there. I remember that when you were last here you 
mentioned the subject to me, & were desirous to sell. 

The drafts we had received from the Indian Commissioner, in pay- 
ment for catde, have been dishonored by the Department, & returned 
protested. There is no knowing when they will be paid, if ever; but 
fortunately for us I had made such arrangements that I shall not be 
much inconvenienced. 

I shall be glad to hear from you at your earliest convenience. With 

regard. Yours, 

John C. Fremont 

Hon. Mr. Stearns 
Lx)s Angeles 

ALS (CSmH — Stearns Collection). Endorsed: "Answered Eno. 13 de 1852." 
1. In later years Mission San Francisco de Asis was more popularly known as 
"Mission Dolores." The orchard area, approximately seventy acres, had repu- 
tedly been given to Jose M. Andrade on 6 May 1846. Part of his claims was ac- 
quired by JCF and Stearns but, as JCF indicates here, there were other claimants 
to all or portions of the large and valuable mission property in San Francisco, 
including James R. Bolton, who with his partner William E. Barron was linked 
to Barron, Forbes, and Company of Tepic, Mexico (gates [l], 28-30; Daily Aha 
California, 25 May 1850; House Report 243, 45th Cong., 2nd sess.. Serial 1822). 
Bolton had purchased the claim of the priest Jose Prudencio Santillan, who 
allegedly had received the entire mission, containing 29,717 acres, from Gover- 
nor Pio Pico on 16 Feb. 1846 with the condition that he pay the debts of the 
mission. Bolton filed his petition for a patent with the California land commis- 


sioners and then sold the claim to JCF's business partner, George W. Wright, 
who in turn sold it to a group of investors in Philadelphia (Wright's deposition, 
14 Nov. 1854, DNA-49, California Land Commission, Case No. 81, James R. 
Bolton V. United States, vol. V, Record of Evidence, 677-78). The investors 
organized a company known as the San Francisco Land Association, which 
worked to get a confirmation of the Santillan claim and the Noe Ranch claim. It 
was possible to own shares in either Santillan or Noe, or both, and Wright, Pal- 
mer, and JCF were among the many shareholders, with JCF's stock largely in 

The Land Commission confirmed the Santillan/Bolton claim in 1855 (U.S. 
Commission for ascertaining and settling private land claims in California, Title 
papers, briefs of counsel, opinion of the board, and decree of confirmation in case no. 
81, J. R. Bolton vs. the United States, for the lands of the ex-Mission of Dolores, San 
Francisco, J. A. Lewis, 1855). The decision made squatters of the many people 
who were living on the mission lands and who thought they had good titles. 
They howled in protest. The U.S. Supreme Court reversed the decisions of the 
Land Commission and the District Court in 1859, holding that the grant lacked 
the proper documentation (64 United States Reports, 341-53). Ironically, a U.S. 
attorney used the Andrade grant against the Santillan, arguing that since the 
grant of the mission orchard lands was later by two months than the grant of all 
the mission lands, it raised the presumption that the earlier Santillan grant was 
invalid, or at least had become so by 6 May 1846. In resisting the Andrade claim 
a few years later, the United States introduced the Pueblo claim as a genuine 
grant, maintaining that an orchard would have been included in the four-league 
grant to the city (dwinelle, 82). 

The Philadelphia Land Association did not give up easily. It lobbied in Con- 
gress for a recognition of their investors' rights, and in 1876 the House Commit- 
tee on Private Land Claims recommended (unsuccessfully) the enactment of leg- 
islation to allow the investors to try their claim again in the federal courts 
because of new evidence not previously available (House Report 344, 44th Cong., 
1st sess.. Serial 1709). 

179. David Hoffman to Fremont 

10 Conduit Street, Hanover Square, London, 15 Dec. 1851. 

[Introduces John Hamilton Clemment [Clement], superintendent 
of the Nouveau Monde Mining Company, who was going to the 
Mariposa with a staff of twenty-three, and requests that he be given 
the ''very best possible selection that can be made" Clement had been 
previously employed by Taylor & Sons and had a practical knowledge 
of gold mining from twenty-five years' experience in Mexico. The or- 
ganization of the Nouveau Monde in both France and England was 
"perfect" and the capital ample; more funds would be released after 
the company was in possession. 


Robert was proceeding in a few days to see Benton, and Hoffman 
promises to send to JCF "by next steamer" a pamphlet "which will 
explam all" (Dec. 1851). Draft.] 

180. David Hoffman to Fremont 

16th December '51 
My Dear Sir, 

One day later than my letter of Introduction to Mr. Clemment 
[Clement], I have only to state that Mr. Sargent left here for New 
York to see Col. Benton. The on dit is that he carries with him only 
£10,000 or $50,000, but the next on dit an hour after is that it is only 
contracted to be sent to him in New York. If he had 20,000£ in cash, 
and security for all the rest, it would be madness to adopt him — New 
Contracts were offered me within the last three hours to the amount 
of £40,000 in addition to all the rest — but no one will do more than 
deposit your premiums, which will be at your call immediately after 
Col. Benton shall abandon his Enterprise — or you do the same effec- 
tually. I send the Globe paper,' which I pray you to read carefully. I 
am too much exhausted to write more. Yours faithfully, 


The mail has thi^ moment arrived — not a line from you — the world 
here is astounded. 

ALS (M. A. Goodspeed, Jr., Collection). 

1. The Globe, 6 Dec. 1851, had contained an advertisement signed "Thomas 
Denny Sargent" in which Benton was represented as having written that Hoff- 
man's leases since 7 July were not only "void but fraudulent." 

181. Fremont to Pablo de la Guerra 

San Francisco, Ca. Dec. 18, 1851 
Dear Sir, 

Accompanying this letter you will receive by Steamer Sea Bird the 
sum of two thousand dollars ($2000) which is the sum stipulated to be 


paid to the widow of [Jose Antonio] Dominguez for her interest in 
the rancho of San Emidio,' according to the deed executed before Sr. 
Carillo," and which you kindly agreed to keep in your possession until 
I should be able to send the above sum of money. Accordingly, I will 
be greatly obliged to you if you will pay this sum to her, & send me the 
deed at some convenient opportunity. 

It will reach me most safely & most directly by being sent for me to 
Messrs. Palmer, Cook & Co. of this city. With regard I am. Yours truly, 

John C. Fremont 
Hon. Dn. Pablo Noriega^ 
Santa Barbara 

ALS (Old Mission, Santa Barbara Archive Library). Endorsed: "John C. Fre- 
mont to P. de la Guerra, Dec. 18, 1851." 

1. By his 27 Nov. 1851 purchase of the interest of Francisca Villa de Domin- 
guez, JCF acquired one-half interest (two leagues) in the ranch (Doc. No. 173). 

2. Raimundo Carrillo, a notary public for Santa Barbara County. 

3. The sons of Jose de la Guerra and Maria Antonia Carrillo, of whom Pablo 
was one, sometimes used their paternal grandmother's distinguished family 
name, Noriega (pioneer register). 

182. David Hoffman to Fremont 

London, 21 Dec. 1851 

[Encloses the advertisement (printed below) he had prepared after 
the receipt of JCF's 8 Oct. letter, "which came to hand many days 
after" the 29 Oct. letter. "A Pamphlet [David Hoffman, The Fremont 
Estate: An Address to the British Public, Respecting Col. Fremont's Leas- 
ing Potvers to the Author, from June, 1850^ issued this day I have sent 
to Col. Benton and to Mr. Flandin and if you have not written to 
them, your estate is gone, or will be involved in great difficulties. . . ." 
JCF's "power to Colonel Benton" remains a mystery to Hoffman, 
who has carried out the contract of 12 Oct. with Prince Napoleon 
Bonaparte.' Refers to JCF's confirmation of the Agua Fria lease and 
notes: "If you had so instructed me it would have been done and my 
influence as your agent would have remained unimpaired." He in- 
tends drawing up a full statement for JCE Draft.] 

\Hoffman's advertisement in the newspapers as printed in his pamphlet, 


The Fremont Estate, 60. The advertisement did not appear in the Lon- 
don Times.] 


"The Public are now finally informed, that all contracts for a lease, 
up to this 20th day of December, 1851, are valid, and are confirmed by 
Col. Fremont, by his letter received yesterday, by private hand, from 
San Francisco. No more contracts of lease will be executed by me after 
the nineteenth of December present — a determination I had previ- 
ously come to. But my agency for further leasing is only suspended for 
a short time, as will appear by the following extract from his said 
letter; and all the existing contracts will be faithfully observed by me. 

7 have to make you my thanks for the satisfactory and able manner in 
which you have acted for me, and will be happy to resume our business 
relations, and again avail myself of your able services, when I again re- 
sume my operations. I have all reason to believe that they will then be 
resumed with force and great profit, as our quartz rock '-^ "^^ assummg a 
fixed and undoubted value. I shall write to you regularly and frequently, 
and trust to hear regularly from you; hoping, notwithstanding the inter- 
ruption of our business relations, to have your steady correspondence. Yours 


David Hoffman, Esq., London.' 

"My leasing powers being now so happily suspended for a short 
time, the completion or carrying out of all the now existing contracts, 
or their speedy annulment, ought to follow. The course taken by Col. 
Fremont meets with my warmest approbation, especially as it has no 
connection whatever with the recent matter of Thomas Denny Sargent, 
as also appears by the letters of 1st October and 29th October; but 
arises solely out of Col. Fremont's present resolution, (having now re- 
tired from public life), to thoroughly develope his estate, and to pos- 
sess me with the fullest acquaintance with his property, as preparatory 
to my renewal of my leasing powers. My agency for the execution of 
the now outstanding contracts remains as before; but for no new ones. 

David Hoffman." 

1. Prince Napoleon was Joseph Charles Paul (1822-91), but known as Jerome 
and also as Plon'-Plon': He was the son of the former king of Westphalia, 
Jerome Bonaparte and his wife, Princess Catherine of Wurtemberg. His older 


brother, christened Jerome, had died in 1847. His half-brother, Jerome Napo- 
leon, son of Elizabeth Patterson Bonaparte of Baltimore, was not involved in the 
companies that Hoffman hoped would be organized in France. 

183. Fremont to David HofFman 

San Francisco, Cal. Dec. 22. 1851 
My dear Sir, 

I have to acknowledge the receipt by the last mail of some packages 
of letters from yourself — a number were duplicates of letters already 
received & of old date. The accompanying letter which I send you is 
in way of part reply to points on which you make enquiries, & I pre- 
sume, comprehends those points wh[ich] are of greatest interest to the 
British public. As regards my title to the Mariposas, the best answer I 
can make to you will be in communicating the action of the U.S. 
Commissioners upon it, which I think we shall have in 2 to 3 months. 
In the course often days the "'notice' of the claim will be sent in to the 
Board, & I will perhaps find time to copy and send it to you. It will 
give you the history of the grant. In the mean time it will [be] suffi- 
cient to say to you that the grant was made by Micheltorena (who 
came here when Santa Anna was dictator) commanding general & 
governor of the Californias, & who by a special order of March 1842 (I 
think) was invested with the supreme powers of governnment. The 
grant was made in consideration of the public services of the grantee. 
These two points are, I suppose, sufficient to satisfy you. The follow- 
ing are answers to some other points proposed by you. 

1. Heavy machinery can be taken to the mines as far as Stockton 
by water & thence by land. 

2. Any weight whatever, at all likely to be required, can be taken 
to Stockton. 

3. From Stockton the mode is by land carriage, & pieces of three 
tons may be carried to the mines of Mariposas. 

4. I think that specimens would really be of no use to you, as they 
can be had of any conceivable witness, but then they do not 
indicate the character of the veins, which are not uniform. 

5. No such minute survey has yet been made as to enable me to lay 

6. down the veins on a map. The veins are numerous & the work 
& just now would be very expensive. I shall wait until the title be 


7. confirmed & I can get proper men to commence the work. 

8. So soon as the title be confirmed we shall have complete pro- 
tection against intruders. 

9. I do not think there is water power capable of useful appli- 
cation, except in one or two localities on the place. 

10. Coal has never been discovered on the place. I am told there is 
some on the opposite side (western) of the San Joaquin valley, 
near another property of mine, about 75 miles from Mariposas 
& 50 miles from the sea coast.' But this is not certain knowl- 
edge. I send you by Adams' Express a small specimen from a 
very large vein on that property. Will you please see what it 
contains & let me know at the earliest possible date. I shall take 
a receipt from Adams for the package & send it to you. 

11. I cannot yet give you elevations. 

12. These are the usual convenient facilities for transporting mate- 
rials from the agricultural to the mining lands. Some agri- 
cultural land is dispersed throughout the mining land, but the 
main body of agricultural land is about 20 miles from the min- 
ing land. They in part run into each other. 

13. There is no iron on the Mariposas property. There may be on 
the other above alluded to. 

14. There are numerous machine shops, where machinery may be 
adjusted, at San Francisco. 

15. are best answered by the accompanying letter. 


17. No machinery fit for use in this country can yet be transported 
across the Isthmus. By the Cape is the best way. 

18. Agricultural lands range from four dollars to forty per acre — 
so far as my knowledge extends, for I have not made much 
enquiry. The price depends upon situation. Around this bay 
land is already high & next in value comes the land in the Sac- 
ramento and San Joaquin vallies. 

19. I have several tracts in addition to the Mariposas & can there- 
fore sell some land in fee. In small quantities I could not sell at 
less than ($4) four dollars per acre & in large at perhaps two 
dollars ($2). Valuable agricultural lands are not abundant, are 
generally in hands of individuals, & of course will rise in price, 
as the govt, will not have much to dispose of By reference to 
your letter of August llth. 1851, you will find the questions 


which I have here replied to. I will keep the letter by me, & 
answer more strictly as I shall find myself able. 

I have received a letter from the Nouveau Monde Company — Mr. 
Paganelli," I believe, for I have it not by me. I reply by this mail. It is 
my intention to reserve a good location for that Company & the Brit- 
ish Mutual, & for that purpose, among others, I shall go to the Mari- 
posas in a few days. During a recent absence in the Southern part of 
the State, the Mineurs Beiges arrived & went on to the Mariposas. I 
have sent on permission for them to occupy the houses on Stockton & 
Aspinwalls location, where they will be very comfortable during the 
winter. I shall propose to their director to examine the vein, which is a 
continuation of that on which the Mariposas Company is located, & of 
which you will remember Sir Henry Huntley speaks in his pamphlet. 
The yield at Stocktons mill, as I previously informed you, was forty- 
one (41$) dollars to the ton uniformly for a space of four consecutive 
months. From Mr. Goodell's^ examination it appears that the mine 
was very unskillfuUy worked, & the gold not extracted from the ore, 
their process being very inefficient. I shall propose to the director of 
the Mineurs Beiges to examine the ore carefully & thoroughly this 
winter, & if he likes that vein, I will give him the location. Pits & adits 
are already commenced where the work can be carried on under shel- 
ter & as the winter rains have now set in, it is the best thing he can do. 
It is storming heavily at this moment. 

About the British Mutual? Can you tell me if it is finally regis- 
tered? It was to have been done by the 10th July last. Have they de- 
posited their funds in the manner, times, & amounts as stated in the 
contract? Frankly, I do not much like the permission you have given 
the Nouveau Monde to transfer without my consent. In granting 
leases, much is sometimes conceded to the character & position of the 

I was gratified to know that Mr. Powles has been speaking to you 
in reference to a lease. He is the kind of man we want. A successful 
actual experience in a working company like that of St. John del Rey, 
is to me a great voucher for success here. PJease show him Mr. Good- 
ell's letter. He will understand it and know what calculations to base 
upon it. 

Next year, I think we shall begin to know what our veins are & 
then I can give you more information. In the meantime you must be 
content with what you get from other sources. Mr. Goodell has great 


experience with machinery & is an enHghtened practical miner. He 
thinks that we yet have no just conception of the great value and 
number of our veins. But we are daily making discoveries. 

I believe that now I have brought up a little my correspondence 
with you, & now I can send from time to time such bits of informa- 
tion as present themselves. You have much to excuse in my infrequent 
letters, but I have been really borne down by business. Here, it is abso- 
lutely necessary to manage every thing myself, & I have been obliged to 
call in all my business & concentrate it in my own hands. I commence 
now to devote myself principally to my mining interests. Yours truly, 

John C. Fremont 
David Hoffman, Esqre. 
London, Eng. 

[The next day JCF enclosed a clipping cut from the San Francisco 
Herald of 23 Dec. 1851, which read:] 

Rich Silver Mine — Messrs. Jacks & Woodruff have been receiving from 
some time past supplies of rich silver ore from a mine located in Southern 
California, about fifty miles from San Diego. This mine belongs to and is 
worked by a Spanish company, who keep their operations as secret as possi- 
ble. They represent the vein as ten feet deep and fifteen varas wide, and 
capable of supplying an unlimited amount of ore. Messrs. J & W have 
smelted a quantity of the material, and it yields fifty per cent of pure silver. 
The ore itself is like galena, and contains a large proportion of lead. They 
have just received also a solid cubic block of auriferous .quartz from Good- 
all &- Co.'s mine, Mariposa county, weighing 125 pounds, and beautifully 
permeated and overlaid with gold. It is, for so large a piece of rock, ^^^ ^f 
the richest specimens yet found. It is worth from eight to ten dollars per 

The silver mine above mentioned is, we have reason to believe, on 
my property of San Emigio in the San Joaquin valley, & referred to in 
my letter of yesterday. The Mr. Goodall mentioned in the paragraph 
is Mr. Frederick Goodell, writer of the letter I send you, & the mine 
from [which] the block was taken is on my property & the same re- 
ferred to in his letter to me. He is the inventor of the improvement for 
extracting gold which I mentioned to you in a previous letter. His 
statements may be relied on. He has put wages at a higher price than 
we are now paying, & put the yield of gold low. But his experience is 


the best & most reliable that I know of. He holds under a lease from 
me. Yours truly, 

J. C. Fremont 
Dec. 23 

Hon. Mr. Hoffman 

The above paragraph is cut from the Herald of today, E 

ALS (NHi — David Hoffman Papers). Addressed to Hoffman at 13 Half 
Moon Street, Piccadilly. Endorsed: "Reed. 14 Feb. '52." 

1. A reference to his half-interest in Rancho San Emigdio (see Doc. No. 173). 

2. Mons. Fabien Paganelli di Zicavo was gerant of the French branch of the 
Nouveau Monde. 

3. Frederick Goodell not only had a mining claim in the Mariposa region by 
right of discovery, but also held leases directly from JCF and had subleased the 
mine and property of the Mariposa Mining Company. Within a few days of this 
letter to Hoffman, he would obtain from JCF a lease on a gold-bearing quartz 
vein below the works of Stockton & Aspinwall. See the Goodell claim and leases, 
dated 2 Aug., 16 Sept., 27 Oct., 29 Dec. 1851, and one cancellation, 19 Dec. 1852 
(Mariposa County Records, Book 1, pp. 230, 275-80, 346-48, 471-72, and Book 
2, pp. 19-22). With Ralph H. Lord he established a firm in San Francisco and in 
the spring of 1852 was in London trying to raise capital for the development of 
his mterests on the Mariposa (Goodell to G. W. Wright, 30 April, 18 May, 1 June 
1852, and to Joseph C. Palmer, 1 June 1852, M. A. Goodspeed, Jr., Collection). 

184. Fremont to George W. Wright 

San Francisco, Cal., Dec. 26, 1851 
My dear Sir, 

I was of course very much surprised on my arrival here to find you 
gone, & greatly regretted not to have seen you before you left. There 
were many points on which to agree, but we will do the best we can. 
All the requests contained in the letter you left for me shall be at- 
tended to. I have not yet been able to go to the Mariposas, but shall set 
out tomorrow afternoon. Another French Company, called ''The 
Belgian Miners" have arrived there. They hold under lease from me, 
& their report to France will be of great importance. I will put them 
immediately on a good vein. During my absence in the South I ob- 


tained a good deal of information relative to mines. Ore from a very 
large vein was brought in, said to be silver ore, but the analyses made 
since it was brought here are very contradictory. I knew the locality & 
knew that it was covered by a private title. I therefore was able to buy 
half the interest in the whole place at a reasonable price & since my 
return here we have sold one fourth of the interest & the remainder 
costs us nothing.^ By this mail I send a piece of the ore to England, & 
we shall know what it is. At all events we have gained a league and a 
half of good land, well watered, by the operation. We are engaged in 
other things, but they have not resulted. We have made a contract for 
removing the cattle during the winter from Vallejo's rancho to the 
Mariposas. How would good land sell per acre in the eastern market? 
I may have the control of a considerable quantity. 

I trust, reasoning upon Col. Benton's letter of Novr. 9, to hear soon 
of the drafts being paid & I very much [hope] that you will be able to 
have my contracts with Wozencraft & Barbour confirmed by the De- 
partment. We all entertain hope that you will be able to get Beale the 
place of agent." At all events we know that what can be done will be 
done. I write to Dr. Gwin by this mail, requesting his aid. It is re- 
ported here that Mr. [Hiland] Hall will not act as commissioner, & 
that consequently we shall have no commissioner for some months 
yet. But we trust that the President will send out others without delay. 
I mention this for your advisement. Wozencraft behaves badly. He 
has given to [Samuel J.] Hensley & others a contract for the supply of 
1500 head of cattle.^ He has himself gone below to Los Angeles, when 
Barbour ought to have gone, to make treaties with the Indians."* But I 
hope that your action will be such as to make his void. Yours truly, 

J. C. Fremont 
Hon. Mr. Wright 

ALS (CSmH). 

1. He has sold one-half league, presumably for $2,000, of the two leagues 
he purchased from Francisca Villa de Dominguez on 27 Nov. 1851 (see Doc. 
No. 173). 

2. Edward F. Beale was appointed Superintendent of Indian Affairs on 4 
March 1852. 

3. One who received a contract to supply 2,500 head of cattle at an average of 
500 pounds each was Isaac Williams, owner of Rancho del Chino. According to 
"Orion" in the Los Angeles Star, 5 June 1852, he lost it because Wozencraft 
wanted $36,000 for his share of the profits rather than the $25,000 promised by 


Williams. Three weeks later Wozencraft denied any truth in the story (see copies 
of letters from the Los Angeles Star in CSmH — George William and Helen 
Pruit Beattie Collection, B34 folder). 

4. Barbour had planned to visit the tribes below Los Angeles when a threat- 
ened outbreak of Indians in the Tulare Valley forced him to go there. He subse- 
quently went to San Francisco, where he learned that very little money had been 
appropriated for the Indian work in California. He asked for permission to go 
east and left his district in charge of Wozencraft. Trouble among the southern 
tribes prompted Wozencraft to go south in December with a military escort 
(ellison, 52, 54). 

185. Fremont to William M. Gwin 

San Francisco, December 26th 1851 
My Dear Sir, 

The object of this note is to ask you to give me your aid in obtain- 
ing from the Department, a confirmation of the contracts made with 
the Indian Comms. & which I sent on by Lieut. Beale. You are aware 
of the circumstances of that transaction. I took up & carried through 
that contract at a time when no one else probably would have been 
found both willing & able to do so. Some consideration therefore 
ought reasonably to be shewn to us in any benefit that is hereafter to 
be derived. 

Our friend Mr. Wright is thoroughly acquainted with this subject. 
He will be able to make you acquainted with particulars, if he has not 
already done so. Wozencraft has acted badly. He is now in the neigh- 
borhood of Los Angeles, treating with the Indians of Barbour's Dist. 
Before going down he gave to Hensley and others a contract for sup- 
plying 1500 head of cattle to the Indians in the San Joaquin. But this 
will be all set right if you have my contract confirmed. There should 
be but one agent for the management of these Indians. With proper 
subagents the work could then be carried on with more unity & more 
economically. Yours truly, 

J. C. Fremont 
Hon. Mr. Gwinn 
Washington City 

LS (Lehigh University — Honeyman Collection). 


186. Fremont to John McLoughlin 

San Francisco, Cal. Dec. 26th 1851 
Dear Sir, 

I have to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 7th ult. 
which I read with satisfaction on account of the assurance it conveys 
to me of your continued good health. You refer to a statement made 
in Congress of an unfriendly disposition displayed by you to the im- 
migrants arriving in Oregon from the Atlantic States,' and ask me to 
state what I saw of your conduct in 1843. I have not by me a copy of a 
report of that Journey made by me to Congress, but I am very sure 
that in it I made mention of your active and efficient kindness to the 
immigration of that year.' I was in the midst of that portion of the 
emigration which reached the lower Columbia in winter, many of 
them destitute or at least badly provided to meet the inclemency of 
winter. I had knowledge of several cases in which you aided the im- 
migrants with stock and supplies without payment, together with val- 
uable practical information to enable them to select their place of set- 
tlement. My general impression was that your disposition and acts 
were both unusually friendly to the immigrants, especially agreeable 
and useful to them at the close of their hard journey. I will make use 
of this occasion to repeat what I have always said publicly, and thank 
you for the kind and hospitable treatment I received from you in 
1 843, As we are now neighbors I am able to hope for an opportunity 
to reciprocate it but I can never hope to make it so agreeable, because 
I shall never find you in a situation to make hospitality so highly ap- 
preciated as yours was by me. With respect and regard I am Yours 

John C. Fremont 
Dr. John McLoughlin 
Oregon City, Oregon 

Copy (OrHi). 

1. Oregon's first territorial delegate, Samuel R. Thurston (d. 9 April 1851), 
had charged that McLoughlin had tried to prevent the settlement of Oregon by 
Americans by emphasizing the hostility of the Indians, refusing aid to the travel- 
worn and destitute, and encouraging removals to California (see Thurston's 
speech, 26 Dec. 1850, Congressional Globe, 31st Cong., 2nd sess.. Appendix, 
pp. 36-45). McLoughlin's biographers, holman, 246-52, and Montgomery, 
316-18, indicate the ulterior motives of Thurston and others in wishing to strip 
McLoughlin of his land claims. 


2. See Vol. 2, pp. 566-67, for JCFs remarks on McLoughlins kindness and 
hospitality to American immigrants. 

187. John Duncan to Fremont 

2, New Inn, Strand, London. 
26th Dec. 1851. 
To the Honourable John Charles Fremont, 
San Francisco, Califo)-nia. 

In the absence of Mr. Thomas Denny Sargent, at New York, I take 
the liberty, as his solicitor, of addressing you, a liberty which I beg you 
to excuse: had he been in London he would himself have written to 
you, as following up his recent letter to you. 

My letter is occasioned by the incessant attacks of your agent, Mr. 
Hoffman, made in print, upon Mr. Sargent and Colonel Benton; 
which attacks, while they every day tend to create a distaste in the 
public mind towards your mining property in California, do the 
grossest injustice to Mr. Sargent, who has from first to last conducted 
himself with the high bearing of a gentleman. 

Should all Mr. Hoffman's long, confused, and jumbled letters, 
statements, advertisements, and pamphlets, be sent to you, as I pre- 
sume they will, it will be difficult for you to find the actual facts. As- 
sertions which are not facts, and scurrilous and unworthy language, 
such as I am sure must give you or any high minded man pain to 
read, you will find in abundance. I will, in very brief words, give you 
actual facts, which will serve to counteract prejudices which may be 
imbibed from Mr. Hoffman's communications to you — facts which 
you can probe to the bottom — facts which will show that towards 
you, the British public, Mr. Hoffman himself, and, indeed, every- 
body, Mr. Sargent has acted as a straightforward, honourable man of 

Mr. Hoffman, being evidently of a slanderous disposition, and of 
uncontrollable pen and tongue, has attempted to injure me along 
with Mr. Sargent, because I have acted for the latter professionally. 
His slanders I disregard — I am amenable to public investigation and 
opinion: those who seek truth, and wish to find it, may examine all 


my transactions and operations from first to last, with Mr. Sargent; 
and I am satisfied that they can arrive at no other conclusion but that 
Mr. Hoffman is a reckless calumniator, and that the conduct of both 
Mr. Sargent and myself has been that of scrupulous integrity, and also 
of great forbearance towards Mr. Hoffman, except when his vile per- 
sonal attacks provoked retailiation. 

I proceed to the narrative of actual facts. 

You will well remember, that on the 30th of April, 1850, you signed 
at Washington a lease of a gold mine to Mr. Sargent. He was to pro- 
ceed to California to locate it. That lease did not contain any covenant 
for him to erect machinery by any fixed period, such as was intro- 
duced into the next lease you signed to him. 

You will also well recollect, that on the 21st of May, 1850, you 
signed at Washington a lease to Mr. Sargent oi another mine, which he 
was to proceed to California to locate. 

On the 3rd of May, 1850, he parted with two-thirds of his interest 
in the first mentioned lease, to Messrs. Eldridge and Harpur [sic]. 

In the autumn of 1850 Mr. Sargent proceeded to California,' and 
located the first-mentioned lease, at a spot adjoining on the west to 
the mine of the Mariposa Company, — a mine called the Fremont 
Mine, intervening between the Mariposa Company's mine and Mr. 
Sargent's location. To this located mine Mr. Sargent at the time gave 
the name of the "Santa Maria." Its location, as you are aware, was on 
the banks of the Mariposa River. 

At the same period, Mr. Sargent located the second mentioned 
lease on a gold quartz vein, situated on the bank of the Ave Maria 
River, and to this mine he gave the name of the "San Carlos." 

The proper certificates of location were in each case signed by your 
then local agent at Mariposa, Mr. G. Heap. 

Messrs. Sargent, Eldridge, and Harpur ordered and purchased, as 
you are probably aware, machinery to work the Santa Maria Mine; 
but experience (I believe your own) had with considerable loss dis- 
covered, that this machinery would be too light and useless. 

Mr. Sargent then determined to come to England so soon as prac- 
ticable, to endeavour to procure large capitals to work both these 
mines. He negotiated with Mr. Eldridge (Mr. Harpur being dead) to 
re-purchase the two-thirds interest in the Santa Maria Mine. 

He arrived in London in the spring of 1851, and proceeded imme- 
diately to try to form a Company for working the San Carlos Mine, of 
which the whole, as a leasehold for seven years, was his own sole 


property; he did not then attempt anything with the Santa Maria 
Mine, as he did not possess the transfer of the two-thirds interest, held 
by Mr. Eldridge, and his title to it, in consequence, was not clear. 

The friends to whom he applied tor help, seeing the clause in the 
San Carlos lease, that the machinery ought to have been put up in one 
year, and that the lease was for seven years only, from May, 1850, ap- 
plied to Mr. Hoffman to make the term twenty-one years, and to ex- 
tend the period for putting up the machinery. Acting sensibly for 
your interests, that gentleman executed an instrument in due legal 
form, drawn up by himself, for both purposes. He received his fee for 
this, as described to me by Mr, Sargent, in the following manner: A 
person named Smith, who acted with Mr. Hoffman, in the matter, 
obtained from Mr. Sargent his acceptance at three months date for 
£225. The engagement made with Mr. Sargent was that the accep- 
tance should not be used if Mr. Sargent should fail to form a Com- 
pany to purchase the San Carlos lease, so extended to twenty-one 
years. Disregarding this engagement, and before the lease was sold to 
a Company, the acceptance was used; it was discounted; and the pro- 
ceeds of discount were divided between Mr. Hoffman and Mr. Smith. 
The bill remaining in third hands — the discounters after it became 
due to prevent Mr. Sargent setting up to it the good defence he had as 
against Hoffman and Smith — he was vindictively arrested upon it 
and thus forced to settle it, in order to release himself from custody, at 
a time when his attendance on capitalists in London was hourly 

Mr. Sargent and his friends, after obtaining this extension from Mr. 
Hoffman, continued their operations to form a Company and procure 
a capital. But at this period (say May and June, 1850 [1851]), even up 
to September, or rather October, the capitalists of England viewed 
with absolute indifference the project of working gold mines in Cali- 
fornia. He consequently made very little progress, although he formed 
good connections. 

In June, Mr, Sargent went back to the United States, mainly to 
complete his arrangements with Mr. Eldridge as to obtaining an ac- 
tual re-transfer of the two-thirds of the Santa Maria Mine. He met 
with Col. Benton and Mr. Flandin. They proposed to him to purchase 
the entire Mariposa estate from you. After negociations he agreed 
upon terms. They were reduced to uniting, and signed by Mr. Flandin 
and himself on 7th July, 1851, and attested to by Colonel Benton. Not the 
least blame could attach to Mr. Sargent in this proceeding, as regards 


you: he simply agreed to buy what was offered to him on sale. Again, 
those acting for you, Col. Benton and Mr. Flandin, could not I pre- 
sume be to blame, because the contract of sale was made expressly condi- 
tional, that unless you should ratify it then it was to be null and void. 

Mr. Sargent, soon after signing this contract, returned to England, 
and Mr. Flandin and Col. Benton both thought fit to address letters to 
Mr. Hoffman, requesting him to stay all action on his part, as regards 
leases until you could be communicated with. 

At these letters Mr. Hoffman took deep offense, and, in truth, the 
chance of sale of the estate seems to have driven him nearly mad with 
rage. What was Mr. Sargent's conduct on his arrival in England, and 
for months afterwards? To boast of having made the purchase, or as- 
sume any pretensions as owner in consequence? — Not in the least. 
Being conscious that there was in fact no sale at all, unless you con- 
firmed it in due form, — he awaited your ratification. In the interval 
he received letters from Colonel Benton, which said that Mrs. Fre- 
mont approved of the sale; and also letters from Mr. Flandin, which 
copied a passage from one of your letters of the date of Ist September 
last, in these words: — 

"It is rumoured in the papers, and not clearly intimated in a letter 
from Mr. Sargent, that you have sold the Mariposas: ;/, \jic^ so I en- 
tirely approve it. I intend to send you a copy of the papers relating to 
the grant." 

Such letters satisfied Mr. Sargent that the ratification would come; 
but still he remained wholly silent on the subject until the receipt of 
10th November, from Col. Benton, hereafter mentioned. 

I must now, in point of dates, go back in my narrative to explain 
Mr. Sargent's proceedings between August, when he arrived in En- 
gland, and the end of November, when he received Col. Benton's said 
letter of the 10th of that month. 

In the first place, he used his best endeavours to get the Company 
formed to work the San Carlos Mine. With that Company I person- 
ally had nothing to do. The parties who proposed to Mr. Sargent and 
to his agent in London, Mr. Green, to form the Company, did not 
succeed, and, therefore, he failed in this quarter to sell his San Carlos 

Whilst these negociations were proceeding, (end of October) he 
was introduced to me by Mr. Green, for the purpose of my forming a 
Company for him and obtaining the capital to work the Santa Maria 
Mine, — the transfer of the two-thirds formerly vested in Mr. El- 


dridge, having arrived in London, and being at Mr. Sargent's disposal 
on payment of about £600. I carefully examined all the documents, 
and found them correct. I saw that the lease was signed by yourself, 
and knew that it could be depended upon as the act of a gentleman of 
high honour and integrity. I accepted the business, and went imme- 
diately to work. As a practical man, knowing the English market for 
mining property, I advised, as a preliminary, to change the name of 
the mine from "Santa Maria," which I thought would be objectiona- 
ble, to the "West Mariposa Mine." I was guided to the new name sim- 
ply by the plain and straightforward fact that the Santa Maria Mine 
had its position to the west of, and closely adjacent to the Mariposa 
Mine (a known property), and upon the same gold quartz vein. I suc- 
ceeded with my friends in less than three weeks in forming the Com- 
pany, by the name of the "West Mariposa Gold Quartz Mining Com- 
pany," and obtaining the capital, I delivered to the Company the 
original lease, signed by you, and verified to be your signature by the 
Hon. Abbott Lawrence, the American Ambassador. It was trans- 
ferred by Mr. Sargent to the Company. The papers relating to the 
two-thirds were paid for and handed over to the Company, and the 
Tide completed. 

Mr. Sargent represented to the Directors of the Company the facts 
as to the sale of the Estate just as he knew them, not carrying them 
one whit farther than the documents in his hands established. He 
promised that should he, by your ratification of the sale, and by the 
completion of his part, become the purchaser, he would extend the 
term of the lease from seven to twenty-one years; and he further en- 
gaged, that if he did not become the purchaser, he would use his in- 
terest with you to extend the term of the lease, and to do every act in 
your power to give strength and ratification to it, and to co-operate 
with the Company in promoting its success. I am quite sure, that in 
these latter promises he only anticipated your own sentiments and 
feelings; and was protecting your interests, which could not be pro- 
moted by anything so much as by the outlay of the West Mariposa 
Capital upon a mine of which you were the Freeholder entitled to a 
sixth of the proceeds. 

I have before stated, that this lease of the West Mariposa (Santa 
Maria) Mine did not contain any clause to put up machinery by a 
fixed period. No forfeiture of it, therefore, had taken place, or could 
take place; and Mr. Hoffman's aid, as your agent, to remove any for- 


feiture was consequently not wanted, and was not sought. In the face, 
also, of what had taken place on the 7th July, as to the sale of the 
Mariposa Estate to Mr. Sargent, and of the notices from Mr. Flandin 
and Col. Benton to Mr. Hoffman, it would not have been consistent of 
Mr. Sargent to apply to Mr. Hoffman for an extension to twenty-one 
years. He was not applied to. Now, I am sorry to say it of Mr. Hoff- 
man, but his strange conduct drives me to the statement, that I sin- 
cerely believe that he was not applied to, and therefore did not get his 
fee, — and because his vanity was not flattered, — and, further, be- 
cause he owed Mr. Sargent a grudge, as having dared, without his 
permission, to attempt to purchase your Mariposa Estate, he com- 
menced a virulent and calumniating hostility towards the West Mari- 
posa Company, which has unquestionably tended to its depression in 
the eyes of those, who are too careless, or who have not time, to en- 
quire into actual truth, and who are carried away by bold assertions. 
In particular Mr. Hoffman has been ceaseless in intimating that the 
lease contains the same forfeiture clause as to putting up machinery 
in one year as other leases of yours do, when such insinuations are 
positively false. Have these attacks, founded in untruth and injustice, 
done you or your property any good? The contrary. Your bitterest 
enemy could not have devised any greater mischief to your real inter- 
ests than your agent has practised by his impulsive love of rushing 
into print, and throwing about in all directions violent, coarse, and 
vulgar slanders. 

Under his attacks the West Mariposa Company have remained 
calm. They know that they possess a valid lease for the remainder of 
the seven years. They have appointed Mr. Macdougall, of New York, 
a gentleman of character and experience in mining, to take possession 
of the Mine." They are selecting a mining staff, and procuring ma- 
chinery; and they intend to work the mine vigorously under his direc- 
tions, for the benefit of the Shareholders as to five-sixths — and for 
your benefit as to one-sixth. 

If the sale of your estate to Mr. Sargent should, from any circum- 
stances, not be completed, they will be rejoiced to remain your lessees; 
and Mr. Macdougall will, in due time and form make the application 
to you to extend the term of the lease to twenty-one years, in like 
manner as you have done to the Agua Fria Company, which Com- 
pany also, although of the highest standing, has not escaped from Mr. 
Hoffman's sarcasms and insinuations. 


I will now briefly tell you the further facts relating to the San Car- 
los Mine. The Company I have referred to, seeking to purchase it, did 
not succeed in forming itself The lease and papers were delivered 
back to Mr. Sargent, and handed to me. Mr. Hoffman had by this 
time so spoiled the market for your leases^ that with the public I could 
do nothing. To that lease, as I have before explained, I possessed Mr. 
Hoffrnans own ratification, and an absolute extension to twenty-one 
years; but still his publications and advertisements had been so preju- 
dicial that I could not possibly form a new Company at that period. 

A singular circumstance then occurred. The Directors of a Com- 
pany called the "Ave Maria Company," which had obtained its capital 
from the public to work a gold mine on your estate, upon the Ave 
Maria River, applied to me, as Mr. Sargent's Solicitor, to purchase the 
lease of the San Carlos Mine. With the formation of that Com- 
pany, — its basis — its prospectus — its operations — and its advertise- 
ments, neither Mr. Sargent nor myself ever had the least concern. 
Every director and officer of that Company can vouch for this fact. 
When applied to, at the end of November, to sell the San Carlos Mine, 
a representation was made to Mr. Sargent that he had already autho- 
rised the sale of it to the Company, and that because it was located on 
the banks of the Ave Maria River it had been called the Ave Maria 
Mine. Mr. Sargent denied, as was the fact, that he had ever authorized 
the sale of the lease. The original document, with Mr. Hoffman's deed 
extending it, was then in my hands; and he refused to treat with the 
Company upon any other footing than that they did now (end of No- 
vember), knowing that he had the San Carlos Mine lease, apply to 
him to sell it to the Ave Maria Company, as an application then for the 
first time made. To this the Company assented; terms of sale were 
made, and the San Carlos lease was transferred to the Ave Maria 
Company. Their large paid up capital will be applied to work it. 
Their miners and machinery will start in a few days; and, therefore, 
your Lessee, Mr. Sargent, in his character as that Lessee, had done you 
every justice as his Landlord, and will have brought upon two of your 
mines very large capitab. He does not doubt for a moment but that you 
will duly appreciate his exertions — that you will rejoice at any success 
of his in the transactions of sale of these two leases — and that you will 
assist and co-operate with the agents and staff of both companies — 
the West Mariposa and the Ave Maria — and assent to every reason- 
able application their agents may make which will give energy to 


their operations and satisfaction to the Directors and Shareholders 
and the public in England who have depended on your high standing 
and honourable name. 

I now arrive at the last few facts of this long narrative, the length of 
which you must excuse, and I know readily will; because your sense 
of justice will desire that Mr. Sargent should have the opportunity of 
clearing away the vile aspersions made upon his character. 

Upon the 22nd of November there arrived from Col. Benton the let- 
ter of the 10th of November, of which a copy is enclosed. A few days 
afterwards another letter arrived from him, of which a copy is also 
enclosed.' Neither of these letters did Mr. Sargent at the time print or 
publish. They were produced to the Directors of the West Mariposa 
Company, and to some persons sent by Mr. Hoffman's friends to in- 
spect them. Can any possible blame attach to Mr. Sargent for receiv- 
ing them — for believing them — for allowing them be read? Their 
authenticity was doubted. He placed them at once in the hands of two 
gentlemen of the highest character, — Sir Edward Belcher, a Captain 
in the Royal Navy, — and Mr. Ambrose Moore, a Director of one of 
the most opulent London Banks, to get them verified. They made 
enquiries in proper quarters, and when completed, they expressed 
their conviction that they were the genuine letters of Col. Benton, 
every word in his own hand-writing. Mr. Sargent then simply pre- 
pared himself to depart for New York, upon Col. Benton's invitation 
and, while thus occupied, Mr. Hoffman continued his public attacks, 
and fell foul of an East Mariposa Mine Company which had been 
formed without the least co-operation with Mr. Sargent in the first in- 
stance, Mr. Sargent did afterwards endeavour to assist that Company 
for your interests as well as his own, by promising a lease to it of min- 
ing ground on the Mariposa Estate; which lease, if confirmed by you, 
in case Mr. Sargent should see reason not to complete his purchase of 
the Freehold, would have carried the right to you to receive the royalties 
from the working of the East Mariposa Mine. Mr. Hoffman, looking to 
your interests, must have seen, that if he could help to collect another 
capital to work another mine upon your estate, viz.: — the East Mari- 
posa Mine, — he should have assisted. But again, his head-strong van- 
ity could brook nothing that did not come before the public under the 
sanction of his "Sole agency for Europe," and he has done his utmost 
to injure and destroy the East Mariposa Company. 

That Company published a paragraph without consulting Mr. 


Sargent, or asking his consent, to the effect that they had received a 
contract of lease from Mr. Sargent who '' had purchased" the Mariposa 

These were not his words — he never would have used such — Mr. 
Hoffman however instandy charged Mr. Sargent with the authorship, 
and made upon him a virulent personal attack in the "Globe News- 
paper," and Mr. Sargent then, for the first time, published Colonel 
Benton's letter of the 10th of November, but confining that publica- 
tion, by my advice, to the same daily paper, the "Globe," in which Mr. 
Hoffman's attack had appeared, and to two weekly newspapers, in 
which Mr. Sargent had also been personally attacked with much 

I here conclude the narrative. The result is that Mr. Sargent in a 
fair, honourable, and straightforward manner, has sold two of the 
leases held from you direct — the Santa Maria Lease, now West Mari- 
posa, neither forfeited nor forfeitable — and the San Carlos Lease, now 
Ave Maria, extended, by Mr. Hoffman's own signature, to twenty-one 
years — and that large capitals will be sent from England to work 
them both; and, doubtless, they will be highly prosperous undertak- 
ings, and produce large royalties to you or to any purchaser from you, 
(be he Mr. Sargent himself or anybody else), should your gold quartz 
mines possess a richness equal to their reputation. Further, Mr. Sar- 
gent having signed a contract to buy your Estate, which he was in- 
vited by friends in your interest to do, has proceeded to New York, 
(upon Col. Benton's express invitation as holding your full power of 
attorney) to complete the purchase. 

The result of the narrative, also, is to show, that Mr. Hoffman, al- 
though he had to thank the brilliant success of the West Mariposa 
Company, as the groundwork on which he was able to launch into 
new life the dead schemes of the Nouveau Monde and Golden Moun- 
tain Companies, has done his utmost to spoil the undertakings of the 
West Mariposa and Ave Maria Companies, and to drive them to re- 
turn their capitals to the shareholders, instead of sending them to 
California to largely benefit your pocket. 

I shall take the liberty of addressing you again, should I find it 
necessary, and I remain, with great respect, Sir, Your most obedient 

John Duncan 


RS. — 1st. January, 1852. I have found myself compelled to print this 
letter, as the best answer to a long pamphlet issued by Mr. Hoffman. 
The public now have the actual facts. 

Printed in duncan, 4- 12. John Duncan was a London solicitor and promoter 
of companies and would write Practical Directions for Forming and Managing 
Joint-Stocl{ Companies . . . under the Provisions of the "Joint Stocl{ Companies Act, 
1856," 2 pts. (London, 1856). 

1. The Daily Alta California, 16 Aug. 1850, noted the arrival of Sargent, El- 
dridge, and Harper in the Northerner at San Francisco. 

2. The West Mariposa Gold Quartz Mine Company's advertisement noted 
that John MacDougall's experience was in the mining operations of Cuba and 
Mexico (London Times, 11 Dec. 1851). 

3. Not printed. In his two letters to Sargent, dated 10 and 12 Nov. from 
Washington, Benton wrote that he had received from JCF "his full, and reg- 
ularly authenticated power of attorney, to ratify and carry into effect the condi- 
tional sale" of the Mariposa that had been made in July. He was going to St. 
Louis but would return in eight days after being telegraphed of Sargent's arrival 
in New York and readiness to complete the transaction (duncan, 12-13). 

188. Eulogio de Celis to Fremont 

Sr. Don Juan Fremont Angeles December 31, 1851 

Dear Sir and Friend: 

Until the receipt of your letter I did not know the reason why the 
cattle of our agreement last July had not been moved, because my 
questions to Sr. Arellanes on the delivery had been answered saying 
that no one had presented himself to receive them and that the good 
weather had ended and afterwards there was no cavalcade to serve 
because of the bad weather. For my part I am very sorry that you 
were upset but the difficulties which you have suffered depend more 
on the season so badly chosen than on lack of compliance. You were 
present here at my agreement with Stearns on the delivery of the 1200 
cattle which you know were to be delivered 20 days later than the 
notice; well, on receipt of the notice, he replied that he did not have a 
horse that would go 10 miles. And it is certain that the weather this 
year has been very bad. We had 12 days of continuous water. The 
fields next March will present a beautiful aspect. 

The war, the uprisings and all that you have seen of the Indians, 


are some of the things that have always happened in this country. 
Hopefully, your trip to the Indian tribes will not be interrupted. 

I believe that it is not necessary that I take steps in regard to Sr. 
Arellanes, convinced as I am that actually the failure to deliver the 
cattle was because he did not have the resources of men and horses, 
but loyally he will do soon, because I know that he hoped to make 
delivery in August. Thus I remain at your disposition, your affec- 
tionate servant QSMB [who kisses your hand], 


ALS in Spanish (M. A. Goodspeed, Jr., Collection). Translated by M. K. 
Swingle of the California Historical Society. 



Fremont in Europe 

189. Fremont to David Hoffman — Letter 1 

San Francisco, Jany. 15th. 1852 
My dear Sir, 

I have received your several letters of the 20th & 25th of November 
last and argue from them that it is absolutely necessary for me to go 
for a few days to London which I will accordingly do. I will endeavor 
to leave this on the 1st of February and connect at Chagres with the 
English steamer of the 28th. Will you do me the favor to address me a 
note at Southhampton, informing me which hotel I had best go to in 
London. I would not give you this trouble but that I shall have my 
family with me & might otherwise be inconvenienced. I think that my 
letters received by you after the 25th of November will satisfy you that 
you were somewhat hasty in the course you adopted. You will see that 
I have made every effort to stop the sale of the Mariposas — the only 
company arrived here recendy is the Mineurs Beiges. They arrived 
during my absence and went immediately to the Mariposas. I have 
not seen or heard from them, but tomorrow I send an agent there 
expressly to locate them. 

The exaggerated statements in regard to yields of gold published in 
the London Times have furnished the foundation of an attack upon 
me in one of the newspapers, with the cooperation of a self styled 
geologist (there is no such office as state geologist).^ The object of the 
attack was twofold — 1st to discredit the tide and thus give a chance 
for success in the London market to companies whose operations are 
on lands without the security of a tide. 2dly to increase that chance by 
depreciating the Mariposas & exaggerating the value of other districts. 


All this was produced by the success of your operations as described in 
the Times & copied in the Herald of this place. They will send copies 
of their articles to the London Mining Journal. I send you by various 
sources the only reply that I have thought proper to make." 

I will write to you again by the steamer of the 21st inst. & which 
will join the mail by which this letter goes. Yours truly, 

John Charles Fremont 
David Hoffman, Esqre. 

ALS-JBF (NHi — David Hoffman Papers). Endorsed: "Reed, 1st March 

1. JCF is referring to an editorial in the Stockton Journal, 14 Jan. 1852, which 
attacked his title and alluded to "grand company schemes" being organized in 
Europe for working the quartz mines of Las Mariposas. It especially mentioned 
the Nouveau Monde Mining Company and found it hard to believe that JCF 
had lent the influence of his name to such "a nefarious scheme." It cited John B. 
Trask, "state geologist," as the authority for the view that the value of the gold 
veins on JCF's claim was gready exaggerated. The editor called for an explana- 
tion of the matter, alleging that "an outrageous fraud has been or is about to be 
perpetrated." See Stockton Journal material in Daily Alta California, 15 Jan. 

2. JCF's reply was to collect testimonials of geologists and assayers as to the 
value of his property and to have them printed in the Daily Alta California, 16 
Jan. 1852 (Doc. Nos. 192-94). He also brought suit for libel against Trask and 
the Stockton Journal {Daily Alta California, 9 Feb. 1852). 

190. Fremont to David Hoffman — Letter 2 

San Francisco, Jany. 15th, 1852 
9 o'clock P.M. 
My dear Sir, 

I desire you to have published in the Times for which this letter 
will be your full authority, a notice "that all leases for land upon the 
Mariposas the holders of which have not complied with all their stip- 
ulations, particularly as regards time for putting up their machinery 
are hereby declared to be, and will be strictly held to be, forfeited." I 
have within the hour received your notice of the 11th [lOth] Novem- 
ber & send this in reply, having just mailed a letter which you will 


Sargent has no living lease from me. I have never renewed or ex- 
tended any lease to him and no one else had the power to do so but 
yourself. He has applied to me, some time since for such extension, 
but I have not even answered his letter. He has no authority from me, 
no relation or connection with me, social, friendly, or legal, & I disown 
& repudiate everything coming from him purporting to come from 
me. So far from having any letters from Mrs. Fremont he is not even 
known to her by sight — his acquaintance with me amounting to a 
few business interviews in Washington in the spring of '50. Make any 
use of the above you please either in print or otherwise; the letters, // 
unitten by Mrs. Fremont must have been stolen ones addressed to her 
Father, otherwise they are forgeries. 

Please inform Mr. Andrew Smith or other gentlemen who may 
reach this country during my absence with you that they will apply 
for information as to their locations to my solicitors Messrs. Jones 
Strode & Tompkins' or to the banking house of Palmer Cook & Co. 
Your transactions, as communicated to me up to the 20th of Novem- 
ber, meet with my entire approval. 

Bissells company- which is referred to in the publication of today & 
which I send you commenced their operations in August last — the 
dividends of the other companies referred to are monthly dividends. I 
keep this open to enclose to you the slips from the printing office. 

I will bring with me what evidence I judge necessary for the Mari- 
posas title. The Commissioners hold their first sitting on the 21st and 
the Mariposas title has been already laid before them. We shall now 
soon have the title so regulated & in such process of confirmation that 
we can go to work with increased strength & then agreeably to my 
former letters your operations can be resumed. Every day we are ac- 
quiring fixed knowledge & the publication of today which you can 
rely upon is in that respect very interesting. 

A principal cause of failure in companies formed in the United 
States to operate in gold here, is in the agents they send. These imme- 
diately on arriving set themselves to work to make their own for- 
tunes, using for that purpose the position in which they are placed by 
their company sending them. I do not charge this as universal, but as 
frequently the case within my knowledge. My object in saying it, is, 
that you may call to it, the attention of the companies formed for the 
Mariposas. It is of vital importance to their success that they should 
send only men of approved character who are direcdy interested in 
the success of their company. So far, I have seen nothing of, & heard 


nothing from the Belgian company, hearing accidentally that they had 
arrived at the Mariposas I sent to have comfortable houses put at their 
disposition for the winter & tomorrow send an agent to put them on 
their location. 

The slips do not come from the press. I will endeavor to get them 
off by the express. Yours truly, 

John Charles Fremont 
David Hoffman Esqre. 

ALS-JBF (NHi— David Hoffman Papers). Endorsed: "Reed. 1st March 

1. A reference to the San Francisco legal firm of his brother-in-law, William 
Carey Jones. 

2. "Bissell's company" is the Gold Hill Quartz Mining Company, which op- 
erated in Grass Valley in present-day Nevada County (see Doc. No. 192 and 
GUDDE [l], 134). G. W. P. Bissell was treasurer in Jan. 1852 when the company 
paid a dividend of 10 percent on its capital stock (unidentified newspaper clip- 
ping, Hoffman Papers). By the end of the year it had two mills, one having a 
steam engine of twenty-five horsepower, driving eighteen stampers, capable of 
crushing thirty tons per day, and the other sixty-five horsepower, driving len 
stampers. The quartz was yielding from $45 to $50 per ton and the company 
was capitalized at $1 million {Hunt's Merchants Magazine, 27 [Dec. 1852], p. 753, 
citing San Francisco's Placer Times and Transcript). 

191. Fremont to John L. MofFat 

San Francisco, January 1852 

Dear Sir: 

A slanderous attack having been made upon my Mariposas prop- 
erty,' and through it upon me, directed, among other things, to dis- 
credit the value of the property as a gold-bearing tract, with the 
evident object of giving, by contrast, increased value to other portions 
of the mining districts, I have thought it advisable to apply to you, 
among other gentlemen, as eminently qualified, by your great experi- 
ence, and connection with gold mining generally, and more particu- 
larly to California, for a written expression of your opinion in the 
case. The points on which I more particularly desire the expression of 
your knowledge are these: 


1st. What is your opinion as to the general value and extent of the 
gold-bearing district of Agua Frio and Mariposas? 

2d. Have you visited any particular localities there, and if so, what 
do you judge to be the quantity of gold contained in the average ton 
of vein? 

3d. Were the mining operations at the Mariposas so conducted as to 
extract the greater portion of the gold from the rock? 

4th. Have you at any time made a personal examination of the 
Mariposas mine, and if so, will you please state your opinion of its 
general character, and how much per ton you could obtain by proper 
working of the mine? 

5th. Have any dividends been declared upon the capital stock, of 
any companies in California, and if so, what amount? 

An early answer to these enquiries will greatly oblige. Yours, 

J. C. Fremont 

Printed in Daily Alta California, 16 Jan. 1852. Exact or similar letters were 
addressed by Fremont to Samuel Count Wass and Frederick Goodell. For the 
replies, see Doc. Nos. 192-94. 

1. This is a reference to the critical editorial in the Stockton Journal, 14 Jan. 
1852, about which JCF had written to Hoffman (Doc. No. 189). 

192. John L. Moffat to Fremont 

San Francisco, January 15, 1852 
Dear Sir: 

I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your note growing 
out of the publication in a Stockton paper, of certain slanderous 
charges against you, in causing to be published in the English papers, 
greatly exaggerated statements of the richness of the veins on your 
claims in Mariposa County. 

You ask my judgment on the general value and extent of the Agua 
Frio and Mariposa. I have twice visited the Mariposa vein, in March 
and July last. In both instances I judge from what I saw and what I 
learned, that it was producing then and have averaged for several 
months, forty dollars per ton, worked with close mortars and shaking 
tables. With better amalgamators, I am of opinion twice that amount 
could have been saved from the same ore. 


I have not visited any other vein in that region than the Mariposa, 
with a view to form an opinion of its richness. It is a general charac- 
teristic of the veins in CaHfornia that they improve as they go down, 
and such, so far as I could learn and observe, is the case with this 
one. It showed rich at the depth of forty-two feet, when I was there 
in July. 

The mining operations at Mariposa, so far as the mechanism was 
concerned, were very good, but the plan then used can never be made, 
in my judgment, to save half the gold. The general character of the 
Mariposa rock is hard, and requires burning, after which it can be 
reduced with comparative ease. 

Of the Agua Frio veins I cannot speak from my own knowledge, 
but to judge from what I was told, and from the great number that 
flocked there, I must conclude they are at least as rich as the Mariposa. 

With regard to dividends on gold stock, the company of which Mr. 
[G. W. P.] Bissell is a director, at Grass Valley, the "Gold Mountain 
Mining Co." [the Gold Hill Quartz Mining Company] I believe is the 
name, have paid back the capital to those who advanced it, and di- 
vided ten per cent for the month of December. Three others I have 
heard of, but don't recollect the names, have divided one 10, one 11, 
and one 15 per cent [per month] on their capitals.' I have the honor 
to be very respectfully, Your friend, 

John L. Moffat 

Printed in Daily Aha California, 16 Jan. 1852, and is a reply to JCFs letter of 
Jan. 1852 (Doc. No. 191). 

1. See JCF to Hoffman, 17 Jan. 1852 (Doc. No. 195). 

193. Frederick Goodell to Fremont 

San Francisco, Jan. 15, 1852 
Dear Sir: 

In reply to your communication I can say that I have thoroughly 
tested the quartz vein known as the "Mariposa Vein" to the depth of 
forty-two feet, and found the quartz to increase in richness the deeper 
down I went. I have crushed the quartz to the extent of several hun- 
dred tons, and extracted the gold by the use of the shaking tables, 


which were on the place previous to my visiting Mariposa, and were 
very imperfect in their construction. I have also tested quartz from 
many veins upon your property, and the results varied from two cents 
to eight dollars and fifty cents from the pound of rock. 

The vein known as the "Mariposa Vein," and upon which I have 
been operating, varies in thickness from three to twelve feet, and can 
supply one hundred tons of quartz per day for years to come, without 
a question of doubt. In my own opinion I do not think the vein can be 
exhausted in a century. The veins upon your property in the Mariposa 
and Agua Frio districts are numerous and rich in gold; and I am con- 
fident that large results can be realized by a judicious ouday of capital 
and the use of heavy and well constructed machinery. If unfavorable 
results have emanated in working on any vein in the districts I have 
named, it is to be attributed entirely to the light and imperfect ma- 
chinery used, and the limited amount of capital expended without a 
knowledge of mining and machinery. In regard to the extent of the 
quartz veins upon your property, I feel perfectly safe in saying that 
they cannot be exhausted in this century. With reference to the letters 
recendy published and signed by John B. Trask,' styling himself a 
geologist, I do not consider them worthy of notice. These letters, over 
the above named signature, make mention of the quartz veins, and 
the formation of the Mariposa and Agua Frio districts, and the state- 
ments therein made I know from personal explorations of that district 
to be entirely false and incorrect. I view the gentleman as one of the 
very many self styled geologists, who have, from interests best known 
to themselves, caused much injury to the mining interests of California. 

As my time is very limited, I am compelled to be thus brief, intend- 
ing at a future period to give you my views and experience more in 
detail. I am, sir, very respectfully, Your ob't. serv't. 

Frederick Goodell 
Hon. John Charles Fremont, S. Francisco 

P.S. In regard to your title to the Mariposa and Agua Frio districts, I 
had occasion to examine your title, in taking a lease from you, and 
found it satisfactory to me. In my mind there is not a question of 
doubt as to the validity of your tide. 


Printed in Daily Alia California, 16 Jan. 1852. 

1. Born in Roxbury, Mass., John B. Trask (1824-79) was a man of great 
erudition. He had been a member of the Mexican boundary survey and would 

become the first state geologist of California as well as a founding member of its 
Academy of Sciences. In 1853 he published a map entitled Topographical Map of 
the Mineral Districts of California , which gudde [l], 424, terms a "landmark" in 
the cartography of the mining region. It and his Map of the State of California, 
also published in 1853, are reproduced in wheat [2]. 

194. S. Count Wass to Fremont 

[San Francisco, 15 Jan. 1852] 
Most Respected Sir: 

Circumstances and misfortune having banished me from my be- 
loved native country, the love of natural sciences, particularly those of 
Geology and Mineralogy, have induced me not only to visit Califor- 
nia, but perhaps to find here a new and quiet home. In the first days 
of my arrival, I have been so happy as to enjoy your hospitality, on 
your property situated on the Mariposa Creek. Struck by the beauty 
and interestingness of the formation there, I was very soon decided to 
stay for a longer time in those quarters, which was greatly facilitated 
by your kind hospitality, and I have passed one whole year on the 
Mariposa Creek and its vicinity. In the first three or four weeks of my 
sojourn, I have paid particular attention especially to the auriferous 
formation, which is very interesting on your property. During this 
time I have examined more than thirty points of auriferous forma- 
tions, having subjected the minerals to regular metallurgical opera- 
tions and chemical assays, and I can not only ascertain, but chemically 
prove to you that with very few exceptions, almost all of them have 
showed traces of fine metal, and some of them gave the most satisfac- 
tory results which might be expected for the most advantageous and 
lucrative mining operations. Besides these points which I have exam- 
ined, I have found a great many other points which I am sure would 
give, by a regular examination, the same results. But to prove the 
nature of the auriferous formations situated on your property, it is 
enough to give some account about the only two veins which have 
been opened and worked till this day, on your property, the so called 
Mariposa veins, where the works of the Mariposa Mining Company 
are established, and the Guadalupe vein, situated on the Agua Frio 
Creek. Having been employed by the Mariposa Mining Company to 
open the vein and point out the levels, I had the opportunity of exam- 


ining that vein thoroughly, and I myself confess that I never saw a 
more perfect, more highly developed formation. 

During my sojourn at Mariposa and the environs, I have made a 
great many excursions, partly to know the country, partly to acquire 
more knowledge of the metalliferous formations. I have visited Max- 
well's Creek, the Merced, Bear Valley, Quartzville, and several other 
places, not only as visitor but employed by mining companies, to open 
their mines; but I feel happy to inform you, that neither of those 
places is superior to yours in regard to the richness of the metalli- 
ferous leads. I know very well the famous Adeline vein; it is nothing 
in comparison to that which was found on the top of the Mariposa 
vein in 1850, and in regard to locality, situation, water and abundance 
of fuel, the veins situated on your property are incomparably superior 
to any others I know. 

Receive, Colonel, the regards and consideration of. Truly yours, 

S. Count Wass 
San Francisco, Jan. 15, 1852. 

Printed in Daily Alta California, 16 Jan. 1852. As noted earlier, Count Wass 
had already extolled the splendid veins of the Mariposa property (Doc. No. 121, 
n. 4). 

195. Fremont to David Hoffman 

A duplicate of this goes on the 21st. 
inst. San Francisco, Jany. 17, 1852 
David Hoffman, Esqre. 
My Dear Sir, 

The words underlined ''one 10, one 11, and one 15 per cent" should 
be followed by "per month," reading when corrected, "have divided, 
one ten, one eleven, & one fifteen per cent per month on their capitals." ' 

This correction is authorized by Mr. Moffat & will appear corrected 
as above in the weekly Alta California, which will leave this on the 
21st by the Golden Gate, and will probably reach you as soon as this. 
Please publish the article in the Times and the Mining Journal. It is of 
importance that it should be immediately communicated to the editor 
of the Mining Journal as the slanderous article which called it forth 


has been sent to him. The Mr. Trask, alluded to in it is made to ap- 
pear State Geologist, but there is no such office. He is simply a hire- 
ling, one of the many perambulating scourges in the country. 

Mr. Goodell you already know from previous letters. Count Wass is 
the head of a firm of assayers & gold melters in this city. He came to 
Washington in 1850 with Gov. Ujhazy (the Govt, of Komarom)' who 
applied to me for letters for him to this country. Enclosed is his adver- 
tisement in this City. Moffat is the head of the U.S. Assaying & Coin- 
ing establishment here. Enclosed is his advertisement also.^ 

My agent left yesterday to look for the Mineurs Beiges. 

John Charles Fremont 

ALS-JBF (NHi— David Hoffman Papers). Endorsed: "Reed. 1 March." 

1. The correction is to the last informative sentence of Moffat s 15 Jan. letter 
to JCF (Doc. No. 192). 

2. Laszlo Ujhazy (1795-1870), a political exile like Wass, helped found the 
city of New Buda, Iowa, before settling permanently near San Antonio, Tex. 

3. Not found. 

196. David Hoffman to Fremont 

London, 23 Jan. 1852 

[JCF s letters of 8 and 29 Oct. and 4 Nov. "were very acceptable to 
the friends of California and greatly the reverse to those few design- 
ing persons who hoped to find Thomas Denny Sargent the owner of 
your estate." Confidence was coming back and once even one of JCF s 
lessees expressed satisfaction with the selection of land, restrictions on 
the release of money would be removed and JCF would be able to 
draw for "defined" sums. 

Since JCF's letter suspending his leasing powers, Hoffman had 
been "busily employed" in carrying into execution "those contracts 
previously made" by him. He had been to France to complete those 
there and to obtain the benefit of French law, which does not "charge 
stockholders in solido" as did British law. A French organization 
enabled him to obtain British capital, "mind," and machinery with 
comparative ease. He again promises a full statement on all the con- 


tracts — monies, stocks, and their value. This would have been done 
had it not been for the Paris visit and for the fifty to one hundred calls 
daily, "which rendered any continuous work even of a few hours ab- 
solutely impossible." 

Mr. Andrew Smith would apprise him "of all things." An Amster- 
dam company was interested in a lease but, per JCFs "last instruc- 
tions," had been rejected. "Many other contracts are applied for, and, 
of course, meet the same fate." Mr. Paul's ' company was ready to go 
to the Mariposa as soon as Hoffman had more information about its 
status. Draft.] 

1. In the summer of 1850 in London, a Mr. Paul had accompanied his show- 
ing of a painted panorama of JCF's route to Oregon and California with a lec- 
ture and sometimes with a printed pamphlet. He was often in communication 
with Hoffman, and he was probably the W. H. Paul whom Hoffman sent to 
meet the Fremonts on their arrival in Liverpool (Hoffman to Charles Mayer, 20 
July 1850; telegram of W. H. Paul to Hoffman, 22 March 1852; Hoffman's 1852 
itemization of payments to Paul, all in NHi — David Hoffman Papers). 

197. Fremont to Joseph C. Palmer 

San Francisco, 26 Jan. 1852 

[Fremont gives Palmer a power of attorney to receive all monies 
and merchandise; sell or exchange goods that may come into his pos- 
session; sell real estate; "receive, confirm, make, and execute any con- 
tracts, deeds, conveyances, or other instruments"; adjust all partner- 
ship accounts; compound for any debts; and prosecute for injuries, 
real and personal. He could do all with the same powers and to all 
intents and purposes with the same validity as if Fremont were per- 
sonally present, and he could act through a substitute attorney. Fre- 
mont's signature was witnessed by Edward Bosqui, Palmer's clerk; 
notarized on 27 Jan. by E. H. Hodges; recorded 28 Jan. (Powers of 
Attorney, Liber 2, p. 132) at the request of Palmer by M. E. Flanagan, 
deputy recorder for San Francisco County. The original was tempo- 
rarily filed again on 5 Jan. 1856 and recorded once more in the Re- 
corder's Office, San Francisco County (Book C, pp. 394-95), by the 
request of R. A. Lockwood. ADS (CSf ).] 


198. Antonio Maria Pico to Fremont 

[31 Jan. 1852] 

Know all men by these presents, that I Antonio Maria Pico of the 
County of Santa Clara, State of California, have bargained and sold 
and do hereby bargain sell and convey to John Charles Fremont of 
the said State in consideration of the sum of five thousand dollars in 
hand paid all my right, title and interest in and to the Rancho or tract 
of land lying and being in the County of San Joaquin, in said State 
and on the river San Joaquin as the same was granted to me by Man- 
uel Michael Torrena [Micheltorena] governor of California on the 
Twenty-eighth day of November one thousand eight hundred and 
forty three, with the description and boundaries set forth in said 
grant, to wit, "El Paraja conocido con el nombre del Pescadero por la 
parta di abajo colindante con el rancho de don Juan Maer con el don 
Jose Nouiga con Buenos Ayres al pass de Pescadero y el rio" contain- 
ing eight Sitios de granada mayor more or less, my interest and share 
therein and which I now sell to said Fremont being one undivided 
half of said tract or Rancho; together with all the rights, privileges 
and interest therein, of what ever nature I may possess guaranteeing 
the said Fremont against any person claiming by under or through 
me, but not against any other person, to have and to hold the said 
demised premises, to the said Fremont his heirs and assigns forever in 
TESTIMONY WHEREOF I have hereunto set my hand and seal this thirty 
first day of January one thousand eight hundred and fifty two. 

Signed, Sealed and delivered in the presence of 

Antonio M. Pico [5<?«/] 

C. B. Shorce 
State of California 
County of San Francisco 

On this 31st day of January A.D. 1852 before me a Notary Public 
duly qualified in and for said County personally appeared Antonio 
Maria Pico known to me to be the person described in [the record] 
and who executed the foregoing instrument who acknowledged to 
me that he executed the same freely and voluntarily, and for all the 
uses and purposes therein mentioned. 

In testimony whereof I have hereunto set my hand and private 


seal (having as yet no Official Seal) on the day and year last above 


James Van Ness 

Not. Public 

Recorded by request of Capt. Hold Sept. 21st 1853 at 11 o'clock 

Copy (San Joaquin Deeds, vol. 4, p. 527, Court House, Stockton). The record 
is in typescript and is apparently a copy of an older document. Antonio Maria 
Pico had already sold half the property to Henry Naglee on 25 April 1849 (Pa 
pers relating to El Pescadero in CU-B — Halleck, Peachy, and Billings Corre- 
spondence, ca. 1852-67). A petition for a patent was filed in their names on 10 
June 1852, but it was rejected by the California Land Commission. On appeal, it 
was confirmed by the District Court and also by the U.S. Supreme Court; the 
patent for the 35,546.39-acre rancho was issued in 1865 (DNA-49, California Pri- 
vate Land Claims, El Pescadero, Case 272). 

Palmer, Cook & Company quickly came to have an interest in the rancho. An 
employee of the banking firm reported that the owners neglected it with the 
result that squatters pastured thousands of cattle upon the land and resisted their 
efforts to collect rents (bosqui, 82). JCF seems to have lost tide temporarily, as he 
had in Rancho Emigdio, but succeeded in obtaining a reconveyance (Fremont 
to T. W. Park, 23 April 1862, CSf). In 1867 JBF, as "the owner in fee in her 
own right of an undivided one-fourth part" of the rancho, sold 6,672 acres for 
$1 1,000, payable in the stock of Wells Fargo's Express Company; in 1874, "in her 
own right and as Trustee for Francis Preston Fremont," she sold the remain- 
der of her interest — one-sixteenth part containing 2,216 acres — for $8,400 in 
gold coin (JCF and JBF's agreement with Charles McLaughlin, 18 Nov. 1867; 
JBF's deed to H. W. Carpentier, 13 May 1874, San Joaquin Deeds, Court House, 

199. David Hoffman to Fremont 

London, 1 Feb. 1852 

[Sends him the original engrossed contract for the HofFman- 
Alverado Company and hopes very soon to send via New York every 
one of the engrossed contracts (perhaps eighteen or twenty) with a 
statement of all monies, premiums, shares, and royalties. The Quartz 
Rock Gold Mining Company of Mariposa (formerly British Mutual 
Gold Mining Company) was finally registered. The news that JCF 


had approved the Nouveau Monde Company would raise their stock 
at least ten shillings. Still hopes for specimens and frequent communi- 
ques. Copy.] 

200. Fremont to Benjamin D. Wilson 

San Francisco, February 1st. 1852 
My Dear Sir, 

I am sorry I can not send you down the amount of your bill, but 
will make arrangements to do so at an early day. I am about leaving 
the state for a few months — in the meantime Mr. Joseph C. Palmer, 
of Palmer Cook & Co. will act as my attorney in the same manner as 
if I were here. You will see the notice in the Alta California. 

I write in haste on the eve of my departure ' but hope to have the 
satisfaction to see you soon again. Yours very truly, 

J. C. Fremont 
B. D. Wilson Esqre. 
Los Angeles 


1. JCF and his family sailed on the S.S. Tennessee, probably the day of the 
letter (San Francisco Aha, 1 Feb. 1852; San Diego Herald, 7 Feb. 1852). 

201. David Hoffman to Fremont 

London, 8 Feb. 1852 

[Writes that it is not within his physical ability to make JCF fully 
aware "of the condition of things" in London, but calls his attention to 
a number of points. 

He has heard from private sources that the Sargent sale had been 
rejected by Benton (it had not been) and rejoiced for JCF s sake, since 
the purchasers would have involved him in ultimate difficulties. Hoff- 
man could easily obtain $5 million for the Mariposa. He has endeav- 



John Charles Fremont. From an oil painting 

by William S. Jewett in 1852. Courtesy of the National 

Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution. 



ored to keep him informed of everything in London, but both he and 
the public have wondered at JCF's silence on some matters. 

Hoffman encloses copies of Walbridge's advertisement in the Times 
(27 Jan. 1852) on the Agua Fria, which he labels "false in some re- 
spects" and intended for "stock jobbing purposes," and expresses his 
view that Walbridge's conduct was improper both to JCF and to him- 
self His own public letter to the members of the Stock Exchange 
{Times, 27 Jan. 1852) expressed doubts that JCF had given one-half of 
the Mariposa (he did not know about the 5 Sept. 1851 conveyance) to 
Palmer, Cook & Company for a share in the Agua Fria Mine, but did 
not impute any hostility to that firm or question JCF's right to enter 
into such an agreement. He wishes the extension of the Agua Fria 
leases had been done through his agency rather than by JCF directly, 
and he has no doubt that JCF would grant leases to the Ave Maria 
and the West Mariposa Gold Quartz Mine Company. 

He encloses the 27 Jan. 1852 letter in which Walbridge had assured 
him that he had authority to terminate Hoffman's agency. He is 
pained that JCF has not had sufficient confidence in him to reveal his 
plans and policies, but he hopes he will let him know if he is discon- 
tented. In the meantime he will continue to sustain JCF's, his, and the 
contractees' interests. Two copies: a rough draft and a "fair copy made 
for Thomas H, Benton."] 

202. Palmer, Cook & Company to Fremont 

San Francisco Feb 28. 1851 [1852] 
Dear Col. 

The agent of the Agua Frio mine ' has arrived, and leaves on Mon- 
day for the Country. The United States Surveyor General leaves same 
day to survey the ranch.' The Commissioners have settled one impor- 
tant point, the very one suggested by Lockwood,^ that is, they sit as a 
tribunal executing a political trust, to decide tides as the Mexican 
Government would have decided them, and this obviates the diffi- 
culty apprehended from the decisions of the Supreme Court of the 
United States, that a judicial tribunal is not competent to execute a 
political trust — that settles the point. We received a letter from Wright 


by the last mail requesting us urge on you the importance of holding 
on, that he can raise all the money you may want to develop the re- 
sources of your ranch, that too before he knew of this important deci- 
sion settling the whole matter of the claims — for you see at once it 
only requires a survey and the rest is a mere form — and the Commis- 
sioners will issue a patent of title at once. Very Respectfully Yours, 

Palmer, Cook & Co 
To Hon J. Charles Fremont 

Copy (M. A. Goodspeed, Jr., Collection). 

1. James Hepburn had left England on 17 Dec. 1851. He was the agent of the 
Agua Fria Mining Company, which had been promoted in London by Wright, 
Walbridge, Jackson, and Lakeman to carry on mining under the 17 Sept. 1850 
lease obtained by Palmer, Cook & Company from JCF. The company was offi- 
cially registered on 5 Oct. 1851, but in its amended return a week later the pro- 
posed capitalization of £200,000 was reduced to £100,000, with each share worth 
one pound and with one-third of the shares reserved for Palmer, Cook & Com- 
pany, who were also to receive £6,000 in cash. "It was a grand affair," Walbridge 
wrote Wright, "and by far the greatest bargain that ever was made in this or any 
other country." The incorrigible Hoffman and the rumored sale of the Mariposa 
soon caused the company to move cautiously, to lock up one-half the promised 
shares to Palmer, Cook & Company, and to delay final arrangements until April 
1852 (see Records of the Agua Fria Mining Company, Film Z-G-1, Reel 58, and 
Agua Fria Gold Mining Agreements, London, 16 and 17 April 1852, CU-B; 
Walbridge to Wright, London, 11 Feb. 1852, M. A. Goodspeed, Jr., Collection). 

2. Surveyor General Samuel D. King appointed Allexey W Von Schmidt to 
conduct the survey of Las Mariposas. It was completed in June 1852 (crampton, 

3. Jonathan A. Jessup, better known as Rufus A. Lockwood, was an eccentric 
legal genius who did win JCF s case with the California land commissioners. He 
then went off to Australia, but when the District Court overturned the decision 
of the land commissioners, Palmer persuaded him to return and add his name to 
the distinguished battery of legal counsel appealing the Mariposa case to the Su- 
preme Court (booth; Montgomery Blair to Minna, 22 April 1854, DLC — 
Montgomery Blair Papers). Ultimately the commissioners decided that it was 
unimportant whether their authority be termed "judicial" or "political." It came 
from Congress, the political power of government, but it was a power measured 
and limited by the act of 1851. The commissioners held that they were compe- 
tent to pass on all classes of titles, complete or incomplete, and that in doing so 
they would take notice of the general history of Spain, Mexico, and Calilornia as 
well as all applicable laws, usages, customs, treaties, and even equity. The 
wisdom or policy of Mexican law was not the issue (Opinion of Hiland Hall, 
printed in John C. Fremont v. the United States, pp. 9-34, DNA-267). 


203. Philip R. Fendall to Fremont 

Washington, 28th Febr. 1852 
Dear Sir: 

Edward Beale Esqr. informs me that he has received a letter from 
you from which it appears that you would have left California for 
London before you could have received Col. Benton's last letters to 
you concerning the sale of the Mariposas lands. Those letters stated, as 
I learnt from Col. Benton, the particulars and result of his negotiation 
with Mr. Thomas Denny Sargent on this subject. As I was profes- 
sionally consulted by Col. Benton during that negotiation, Mr. Beale 
suggests that I should communicate to you the substance of the treaty, 
and I now accordingly do so. 

On the 29th of January 1852 two agreements were executed, to 
which the parties were, yourself through your attorney. Col. Benton, 
and Mr. Sargent. One of them ratified the previous contract of sale of 
7 July 1851 between Mr. Flandin as your attorney, and Mr. Sargent. 
The other recites that it had been so ratified; that the parties had mu- 
tually consented to dispense with the limit of four months stipulated 
in that contract as the term for carrying it into effect, and had agreed 
on a farther delay for that purpose, that you had by letter of attorney 
to Col. Benton given him full powers as to the sale and disposition of 
the Mariposas estate; that under his authority on the 29th day of Janu- 
ary 1852 Col. Benton ratified that contract; and that the parties had 
agreed on certain modification of the terms of the contract. 

The new agreement contained a mutual covenant for the perfor- 
mance of the conditions original and modified. 

The modifications were as follows: 

1st. Instead of the cash payment of 100,000 as originally stipulated, 
$25,000 to be paid in cash on the execution of the agreement; and 
75,000 to be paid in London, on the delivery of the deed conveying all 
your tide, and within eight days after Mr. Sargent or his agent in 
London should have been certified that possession of the premises had 
been delivered to his agent in California. If the $75,000 should not be 
paid as agreed on then the $25,000 paid by Mr. Sargent to be forever 
forfeited to you. 

2nd. The sum of $30,000 the first annual payment to be paid in 
New York, in one payment, in twelve months from the date of the 

3rd. The sum of $60,000 to be paid annually, from the date of the 


payment of the 30,000, in quarter-yearly installments, in New York, 
until a perfect title to the lands should be made to Mr. Sargent, or 
until a final adjudication of your title should be made by the United 

4th. The sum of 300,000 to be paid in New York on the delivery of 
a perfect title. 

5th. Within one year after the delivery of a perfect title, such far- 
ther sum, with interest at the rate of six per cent as together with the 
previous payments shall amount to the purchase money of one million 
dollars^ to be paid to you in New York. 

6th. On the confirmation by the United States of your inchoate 
title, you are to make further reasonable conveyances for assuring Mr. 
Sargent's title. 

On the same day, 29th January 1852, Mr. Sargent executed an 
agreement reserving to you the right within fifteen days after you 
should have received notice from his agent for receiving possession of 
the lands, to renounce and annul the whole contract; and providing in 
case of your disapproval for its utter nullity. 

On the same day a deed was executed by you through your at- 
torney Col. Benton, to Mr. Sargent, of your inchoate tide to the Mari- 
posas estate. The deed to be delivered on your confirmation of the sale 
and Mr. Sargent's payment of the $75,000 dollars. 

On the same day a deed of mortgage was executed by Mr. Sargent 
on the Mariposas estate, to secure the payment of the $900,000 which 
would remain due after the payment of $25,000 down, and $75,000 on 
the delivery of the deed from you. 

On the same day Mr. Sargent, in a letter to you renounces all claim 
to any account for moneys received by you from leases, rents, royal- 
ties, &c. 

On the 31st January a covenant on your part for the release, within 
six months, of Mrs. Fremont's dower, was executed by Col. Benton. 

Hoping that the advantages to you from the sale may be commen- 
surate with the pains taken by Col. Benton to place the negotiation on 
proper grounds, and to bring it to a favorable result, I am. Dear Sir, 
Yours truly & respectfully, 

P. R. Fendall 
Col, Fremont 

LS (CLU). 


204. Fremont to Edward E Beale 

New York, March 8th, 1852 
My Dear Sir: 

I have learned that the opponents at Washington to your present 
appointment, strongly urge upon the President a charge that you were 
concerned in my contracts for the supply of cattle to the Indians in 
California. The object of the present note is to authorize and request 
you, in my name, to say upon all fitting occasions that those contracts 
were made by me, and in behalf of myself and Paul Leroy, Esq. a 
merchant of San Francisco; ' that they were conducted in my name 
alone, as the sole responsible contracting party; that you were at the 
time these contracts were made in a different part of the country; that 
the first contracts were made, and arrangements for carrying them 
into execution completed, nearly a month before you were aware of 
anything in regard to them; that a large amount of capital and firm 
credit being necessary to carry through the business, and the credit of 
the Government Agents being very low in California, Mr. Leroy be- 
came alarmed and withdrew from the contract, I reimbursing the ac- 
tual expenditures he had made. I then associated as partners, Major 
Savage and Capt. Vincenthaler, who also shortly afterwards retired 
from the contract, leaving me the sole risks and responsibilities of the 
transactions. Finally, that you are not, and never were a partner of 
mine in any transaction, or party to any contract in which I am or 
have been concerned. I trust that our known friendly relations will 
not prove an injury to you, and hope that I therefore, with safety to 
yourself, give to this charge in my name, the most peremptory denial, 
and to characterize it in the plainest terms, a falsehood, and to show 
this letter to the person you contradict, as the authority, holding me 
personally responsible. 

Business of greater importance compels me to leave, on Wednes- 
day, for England; but I will be back at an early day, and will give this 
subject my undivided attention. To carry out this contract I availed 
myself of an extensive credit among the old Californians; accom- 
plished it at great risk of means and unusual long continued personal 
risk and expense. The profit to me will be large, but I ask it as my 
right from the honesty of the department. You are at liberty to make 
what use of this letter you please. Yours truly, 

John Charles Fremont 

Printed in Stockton /o«r«fl/, 15 June 1852. 

1. See Doc No. 133, n. 2. Paul Leroy not identified. The San Francisco city 
directories for 1851 and 1852 list "Theodore Leroy, merchant, 151 Montgom- 
ery St." 

205. Fremont to Charles E Mayer 

Irving House, March 10th. 1852 
Dear Sir, 

I have barely a moment to acknowledge your letters, and say that I 
do not confirm the sale of the Mariposas. I will write from England. 
Yours truly, 

(signed) John C. Fremont 
Charles E Mayer, Esq. 

Copy (NHi — David Hoffman Papers). 

206. David Hoffman to Fremont 

23 March [1852] 
10 Conduit Street, Hanover Square 
My dear Sir: 

Welcome to Old England and sound sleep to Mrs. Fremont and 
yourself who I cannot think of disturbing in any way until tomorrow 
at 12 o'clock. In truth, my dear Sir, I am quite as much fatigued as 
your good self, having been in the City for three hours and received 
some monies on your a/c and finally closed two matters standing out 
since 12th November last. You have in London thousands of friends, 
and some tens (only) of cunning foxes. I pray you to be cautious. One 
Lakeman is worse infinitely than a distillation of Sargent — a mere 
chevalier d'industrie — a genteel vagabond very well looking and gen- 
teel enough, but artful as Satanas. 

I shall do myself the great pleasure and honour of paying Mrs. Fre- 


mont my respects tomorrow at 12 o'clock if not too early for her. I 
have much to say to you of real interest. The calls on you will be very 
great. I hope we may have a couple of days to ourselves. Then all will 
be well and smooth as a summers sea. Yours faithfully, 

D. Hoffman 
SC (NHi — David Hoffman Papers). Endorsed: "on arrival." 

207. Fremont to David Hoffman 

[Wednesday morning] 
[24 March 1852] 
My Dear Sir, 

I have just received your note. I am unwell this morning and some 
engagements have crowded upon me which prevent my seeing you as 
early as twelve. If agreeable to you suppose we say three this after- 
noon. Yours truly, 

}. C. Fremont 
Wednesday mg. 
Mr. Hoffman 

ALS-JBF (NHi— David Hoffman Papers). Endorsed: "24 March 1852." 

208. David Hoffman to Fremont 

[24 March 1852] 
Dear Sir: 

I am extremely sorry to hear of your continued indisposition and 
especially that engagements should so early have pressed in upon you. 
I shall be with you at 3 o'clock — that hour, however, being the one 
selected by the Marchioness Wellesley to pay her respects to your 
Lady, but that can be deferred to another time. My natural desire was 
to see you before any business would press on you, as there are some 
funds in my hands I wished to place in yours at once. [^Hoffman indi- 


cates that the remaining portion of the original draft was cut from the 
letter sent to JCF\]< In very candour, my dear Sir, the presence in the 
same Hotel of Mr. Wright, the supposed representative of the Agua 
Fria, the alleged purchaser of Vi your estate for a bauble, and the pres- 
ence of Mr. Heap, who the public regard as the representative of 
Sargent, clouds the matter with a mystery that surprises the public 
even on your very arrival in town — all that might have been easily 
avoided by one minutes conversation last night, which my earnest de- 
sire for your repose prevented and which Mr. Wrights action con- 
firmed [?] > Yours faithfully, 

D. Hoffman 
Signed draft (NHi — David Hoffman Papers). Endorsed: "Altered." 

209. David Hoffman to Fremont 

24 March [1852] 
Dear Sir: 

I called punctually at 3 o'clock; waited 25 minutes. Heard you were 
out during the morning, and had not received my last note. 

I shall be happy to see you at No. 10 Conduit St — only a square 
from the Clarendon — at any hour you may name. 

D. Hoffman 

SC (NHi — David Hoffman Papers). Endorsed: "Mentionmg call at 3 and 

210. David Hoffman to Fremont 

10 Conduit Street 
24 March '52 
9 o'clock [Evening] 

I pass wholly by myself, but Mos. Derriey, a most respectable gen- 
deman who has expended upon a small portion of your Estate a vast 

sum now demands my deepest sympathies. I ask you to see him with- 
out fail privately — he may be relied upon fully. The universal public 
are astonished at this day's proceedings — all except the few talking 
creatures that would deceive angels of light. I cannot consent to be 
longer in an equivocal situation or the most innocent means of injur- 
ing so worthy a gentleman as Mos. D. There are also hundreds more 
who reposed on you alone, and who are resolved to see me fully sus- 
tained and themselves freed from solicitude. Mr. Heap regularly con- 
veys all his news to those whom he serves — also Mr. Wright, with his 
Agua Fria, claims his portion and so does even Mr. Sargent. As for 
them all singly and collectively they cannot touch me, but must bring 
ruin on as splendid a prospect, industriously formed by me for you as 
ever dawned on the hopes of any man. Whether they are to be dashed 
to the winds by you or not rests now with yourself alone, and must be 
decided one way or the other without further delay.' Yours obediently, 

D H 

Initialed draft (NHi — David Hoffman Papers). Endorsed: "To introduce 
Mos. Derriey & sent by Post as Mos. D would not be seen." 

1. On this evening Hoffman had a stormy interview with Wright, who im- 
pHed that Hoffman had cast aspersions on the respectabihty of Palmer, Cook & 
Company and claimed that the Agua Fria was to have priority in the British 
market. In a subsequent meeting with Wright and during the half-hour inter- 
view that JCF ultimately granted him, Hoffman agreed not to continue his at- 
tacks but "to row in the same boat" as they desired. But when the press reported 
that one of JCF's first acts would be to attend a meeting of the Agua Fria Com- 
pany, the old man had difficulty restraining his anger at this "unneutral act" 
(Hoffman to Wright, 25 and 27 March 1852, M. A. Goodspeed, Jr., Collection). 

211. Fremont to David Hoffman 

Clarendon, March 25 [1852] 
My dear Sir, 

I have half an hour at my command this morning which I will 
devote to you, en attendant greater leisure, if you will do me the favor 
to call now. Yours truly, 

John C. Fremont 
David Hoffman, Esqre. 

ALS (NHi— David Hoffman Papers). Endorsed: "25 March 1852." 


212. David Hoffman to Fremont 

[25 March 1852] 

It is quite out of my power to be with you till one hour hence, viz 
before 1 o'clock. I regret that time presses with you so that you cannot 
accord to me more than half an hour on business that consumed more 
than two years of the most precious part of my life and with a devo- 
tion to you & your interests that knew no limits. I had hoped that you 
would call on me where are all my papers, instead of passing conver- 
sation for half an hour — after the whole public now know you re- 
jected me all yesterday and saw certain persons during seven hours of 
the same day you appointed to see me. 

My servant will take a verbal message from you whether you can 
see me at one o'clock. Yours faithfully, 

D. Hoffman 
SC (NHi — David Hoffman Papers). Endorsed. 

213. Fremont to David Hoffman 

Thursday afternoon [25 March 1852] 
My dear Sir, 

In declining to see gentlemen on business matters just now, your 
note of this morning in regard to Mr. Dozziez [Derriey] (of the 
Mineur Beiges) had escaped my mind. If you think that his interests 
require that he should see me, I will be at home after 9 this evening, 
or between 10 & 11 tomorrow morning as may be most agreeable to 
you. Yours truly, 

J. C. Fremont 
D. Hoffman, Esqre. 

ALS (NHi — David Hoffman Papers). Endorsed: "25 March 1852." 


214. David Hoffman to Fremont 

[London], 26 March 1852 

[Finds that "it is deemed politic that the Ave Maria and the West 
Mariposa Companies should have leases, provided the stockholders 
call a meeting, remove all the present obnoxious Directors, constitute 
an approved new organization, and dedicate their funds to the pur- 
poses [?] paying the usual premium. 

"If you agree to this, it can be done hereafter, but only after you 
have stated your intentions as to all other matters. This with your other 
arrangements will then produce entire harmony." ' Signed copy. En- 
dorsed: "About Ave Maria and West Mariposa, 27 [26] March 1852."] 

1. This is a curious letter in view of the fact that JCF had abrogated Hoff- 
man's leasing powers by his 8 Oct. 1851 letter. 

215. David Hoffman to Fremont 

Conduit Street, [26 March 1852] 

[Several gentleman-capitalists of high character and much influence 
wish personal interviews with JCE They are disturbed that JCF had 
delayed receiving Hoffman. Signed copy. Endorsed: "27 [26] March."] 

216. Fremont to David Hoffman 

[27 March 1852] 
My dear Sir, 

I will be happy to see the gentlemen named in your note of last 
night, but I think it will be expedient that you first give me a state- 
ment of the present condition of my affairs. 

In my interview with these gentlemen, I ought to be thoroughly 
acquainted with their business relations to me. Please therefore to let 
me have such a statement as early as convenient, & I shall then be 


prepared to see these gentlemen immediately. I have received, and re- 
plied to, a note on the subject of yours of this morning. Yours truly, 

J. C. Fremont 
David Hoffman Esqre. 

ALS (NHi— David Hoffman Papers). Endorsed: "27 March 1852." 

217. Fremont to David HofFman 

[Sunday, 28 March 1852] 
My dear Sir, 

I have appointed the Messrs. Lawford my solicitors.' Will it be con- 
venient for you to meet me at their office, Drapers' Hall, at some time 
between 12 and 1 tomorrow .-^ Say 12'/2? 

In the mean time I will Thank you to say to any gentlemen who 
may apply to you on matters connected with the Mariposas estate that 
these gentlemen are authorized to act for me and in my name, and 
that whatever may be done by them will be sanctioned by me. 

It will be well also to give them notice to place confidence in no 
representations from any other quarter whatever. Yours truly, 

J. C. Fremont 
Sunday 28th March 
David Hoffman, Esquire 
10 Conduit St. 

ALS (NHi— David HofFman Papers). 

1. E. J. H. and John Lawford not only handled JCF's legal problems with 
Hoffman and Sargent but also defended the explorer in the action brought by 
Anthony Gibbs and Sons in the Court of Exchequer. The U.S. government paid 
the firm $2,150 for this latter service (Senate Ex. Doc. 109, 34th Cong., 1st sess., 
pp. 96-140, Serial 825). 

218. David HofFman to Fremont 

London, [28 March 1852] 

["I should have very good pleasure in meeting your solicitor Mr. 
Lawford if I had the least previous intimation of the topics to be sub- 


mitted to our joint consideration. There are (so far as I can imagine) 
only two — viz: the Sargent pretensions and the validity and faithful- 
ness of my Agency." If the latter, he wants to know before giving a 
final reply about the meeting. Draft. Endorsed.] 

219. Fremont to David Hoffman 

Clarendon Hotel 
[Sunday] Afternoon [28 March 1852] 
My dear Sir, 

Your note is just received. I have put the whole Mariposas subject 
in Mr. Lawford s hands for the purpose of setding all the questions 
which have arisen or may arise in regard to it, and in order to know 
clearly what my liabilities are, and in order to know what are the 
advantages accruing or likely to accrue to me from any application of 
the property up to this time. I am indisposed to do this myself, having 
neither the time nor health necessary for it. 

Many questions are daily arising out of your acts which comprise 
the greater part of what has been done upon the property in question, 
and you will oblige me if you will simply consider Mr. Lawford as 
being in my place, and meet me at his office prepared to give him the 
same facts and complete account of your agency that you were about 
to render to me. 

If without further explanation you can give me your aid promptly 
and efficiendy in the settlement of my affairs, you will confer a favor 
upon me, and for that purpose, I would be glad to know this evening 
if you can meet me at the time appointed at Mr. Lawford s tomorrow. 

I desire to act with you now as always in a straightforward and 
cordial manner. Yours very truly, 

J. C. Fremont 

David Hoffman, Esqr. 
10 Conduit Street 

LS (NHi— David Hoffman Papers). 


220. David Hoffman to Fremont 

[London], 28 March 1852 
[Will meet him at Mr. Lawford's office on Monday at 12:30. Copy.] 

221. David Hoffman to Fremont 

10 Conduit Street, Hanover Square, 29 March 1852 

[He needs immediately the book statement sent to him on Satur- 
day and hopes JCF will dispatch a messenger for it. He is preparing 
the resume which he promised Mr. Lawford. Initialed draft.] 

222. Fremont to David Hoffman 

[ca. 29 March 1982] 
My dear Sir, 

I hope you will not be inconvenienced by want of the book. I have 
place it [in] Mr. Lawford's hands to aid him in his study of the sub- 
ject. I however herewith send the parchments. Yours very truly, 

J. C. Fremont 
D. Hoffman Esqr. 

ALS (NHi — David Hoffman Papers). Endorsed. 

223. Fremont to David Hoffman 

Clarendon Hotel 
April 2d. 1852 
My Dear Sir, 

I acknowledge the receipt of your note of the 31st.' and will refer 
the points stated to Mr. Lawford. In regard to the leases I have in- 


formed gentlemen who have called upon me that they must wait until 
I am acquainted with what has been done before I can answer their 

Regretting that you health is not good I am Yours truly, 

J. C. Fremont 
David Hoffman, Esqre. 
Conduit St. 

LS (NHi — David Hoffman Papers). Endorsed. 
1. Not found. 

224. David Hoffman to Fremont 

[London], 3 April 1852 

[Sends two original letters, "one from Prince Jerome Bonaparte to 
Mr. Robert in respect to the Company (en commandite) organized in 
France under the Presidency of the Prince, and with a Branch in Lon- 
don under the guidance of Geo. Thomas whom you have seen.' The 
other letter is from Mr. Hess (a confidential friend of the Prmce) who 
replies to the Prince instead of Mr. Robert." The letters show that 
companies, shareholders, and even the general public sustain Hoff- 
man. His exclusion from }CFs counsel has prevented the Mariposa 
owner from "rightly understanding" his moral, legal, and honorable 
position. JCF did great prejudice to himself by appointing a solicitor, 
and even the Sargent clique wonder at his course. Draft.] 

1. Prince Jerome Bonaparte's company and its London branch were not con- 
nected with Le Nouveau Monde Company, which hsted Prince Louis Lucien 
Bonaparte as its president and which also had an Enghsh counterpart. 

225, David Hoffman to Fremont 

[London], Sunday, 4 April 1852 

[His first note of "today" did not reach JCF A second note from 
the U.S. minister, Abbott Lawrence, has come. He will meet JCF at 


Mr. Lawrence's at 9 o'clock. "His idea and mine was to go through 
the matter thoroughly for some consecutive days, but the rumour just 
reaches me that you intend going to Paris on Tuesday." Sender's copy.] 

226. Fremont to David Hoffman 

Clarendon Hotel 
101/2 Sunday Night [4 April 1852] 
Dear Sir, 

I have just received your two notes. I do not see what possible con- 
nection the Chancery Bill ' can have with the interview you desire to 
have with me. I understood Mr. Lawford to say it was furnished at 
your request. In regard to the papers sent me by you on Saturday I 
understand these to be addressed to Mr. Lawford and not to me and I 
will accordingly transmit them to him. I do not feel that any prepara- 
tion is necessary for an interview with me, neither have I any explana- 
tion to make. I will take occasion to repeat what I have already said, 
that I ask of you only such statement of the business you have done 
for me and such rendering of the account, you may have had with me 
as it is customary and proper that an agent should render to his prin- 
cipal. For this I do not understand that any explanations are necessary, 
beyond the statement itself, which is the clearest of all explanations. 
But, as your notes just received intimate a desire for an interview on 
business to extend through several days, I shall have to ask your leave 
to decline it, and to refer you again to Mr. Lawford. By adopting this 
course you will spare me a great deal of trouble and bring the affairs 
of your agency to a prompt settlement. I do not feel at liberty to use 
Mr. Lawrence's house as a place of business, nor do I wish to involve 
his name in any way with this business which has already been so 
much thrust upon the public notice. Yours truly, 

John C. Fremont 
David Hoffman Esqre. 
10 Conduit Street 

ALS (NHi — David Hoffman Papers). Endorsed: "Sunday Night 4 Apr. 
1852. Wonder of wonders! Inconsistency of inconsistencies! Impudence of 


1. JCF had repudiated Benton's sale of the Mariposa to Sargent, and on 27 
March Sargent filed a bill of complaint in the British Chancery. Hoffman had 
asked the Messrs. Lawford to see the bill. 

227. David Hoffman to Fremont 

10 Conduit Street, Hanover Square, 5 April 1852 

[In responding to his employers letter of 4 April, he notices that he 
might have information which would help JCF in his defense against 
Sargent's bill; that he has given an account of the various companies' 
monies and shares and that not until the 4 April letter did he know 
that an account of his agency's disbursements was desired; nor did he 
wish to substitute interviews for accounts. He is surprised that JCF 
is not sufficiendy interested to take time to learn the details of his 
agency and reiterates his belief that they have a mutual duty to give a 
candid explanation to "the many and worthy individuals whose confi- 
dence in you through myself, has induced them to enlist their capital, 
character, credit and time in operations on the Mariposa Estate." He 
has no desire to make Mr. Lawrence's house a counting house, and if 
the Mariposa business had been thrust before the public, it was not his 
responsibility. He had not initiated controversial publications but had 
responded to antagonistic advertisements in order to protect JCF's in- 
terests and character as well as his own. He had published his pamphlet 
only after the journals refused to take his business advertisements, 
which would have refuted those of his opponents. Sender's copy.] 

228. David Hoffman to Fremont 

Private and also for Mrs. Fremont 
10 Conduit Street, 8 April 1852 

["I am still loyal to you, to your interests, and to the Companies 
legally formed by me under your powers to me. This will be the last 
effort made by me to save your property from serious injury, and your 
name in England from horrible abuse. You do not (because you will 


not) understand the facts of your case, and the extreme peril of it (of 
your own creation, chiefly since your arrival). The present letter is pri- 
vate, but also will be submitted by me to your Solicitor according to 
your request. I make no difficulty on that matter. But if you refuse to 
read the present letter you thereby refuse to do yourself ]usnce. It is for 
your sake alone that I ask you and Mrs. Fremont also to calmly read it, 
and you will then find that no truer friend ever existed than I shall 
prove myself to have been from May 1850 to the present hour. 

"Your whole history (from the hour I met you several times at my 
brother s house in Baltimore with Mr. Nicollet and until your arrival) 
had inspired me with an extraordinary admiration of your character. I 
was much with Mr. N. during his illness in Baltimore and somewhat 
in Washington and gready loved him. I came to this country only to 
stop here a short time and then to proceed to the Continent where I 
might economize until my little property should greatly rise in value. 
Your agency detained me here. I abandoned nearly every other enter- 
prise and eventually every thing else, and with a zeal and devotedness 
that all admire and which you, and even your foes must admit or 
cannot deny, I battered down all prejudices against Calif. I encoun- 
tered a mountain of doubt of yourself and property and, by my grow- 
ing familiarity with Calif. 'Statistics' I was enabled to gradually form a 
collection of Statistics from 1526 to 1852 in a very large folio volume, 
such an one as no where else exists and a more elaborate and truthful 
record than can any where be found. With this at my hand, I was 
enabled (though you gave me so litde aid) to build up 21 Companies, 
more or less organized, dedicating only about 37,800 feet by 600 feet 
of your property which Companies in Premiums alone must have 
yielded you in cash before the present month of April at least £176,887 
had not the Sargent matter and afterwards the Palmer, Cooke, & Co. 
matter (as brought out by the Agua Fria Advertisement) created the 
difficulties that compelled the Companies (and myself as a honourable 
man) to place the monies and shares in a Temporary Trusteeship and 
several Companies to rest upon their oars, all of which would have 
passed off had you met me on your arrival here in the way that every- 
body expected." 

He proceeds to make a number of points: 

1. JCF's course has alarmed the companies, and his selection of a 
solicitor, although an honorable one, has surprised the public. 

2. The horrible things said about JCF privately in the City during 


the last week would have been in the papers had it not been for Hoff- 
man's vigilance. 

3. Since his arrival in England, JCF had shown preference, much 
to the prejudice of his name and estate, for his previous enemies or 
their sympathizers, namely: Sargent, Duncan, Bates, [George K.] 
Huxley of the West Mariposa, the directors of the Ave Maria, Newton 
of the Agua Fria, Walker of the Carson Creek, Peabody ("friendly 
alone to the Agua Fria"), Lakeman, Green, Wright, Walbridge, 
[William] Hance of the Carson Creek, West Mariposa directors, 
[M. B.] Sampson of the Times, and Sir Roderick Murchison. 

4. He had not taken the time to inform himself about the condi- 
tion of his estate by reading Hoffman's letters. 

5. He had not even read Hoffman's manuscript reply to the Dun- 
can letter. 

6. Hoffman had heard a report that JCF sympathized with Sargent 
and was sorry for the position in which Hoffman had placed himself. 

7. Hoffman thinks higher of Wright than he does of Walbridge, 
but thinks Wright's coming out for the Agua Fria is indiscreet. Lake- 
man and Huxley may make money for themselves but would ulti- 
mately ruin JCF's legitimate and permanent interests. 

8. Refers to Wright's speech at the meeting of the stockholders of 
the Agua Fria which had resulted in the continued depression of that 
company's stock and the appreciation of the shares of the other com- 
panies; "nothing now prevents their rising still more but your silence 
as to the three matters named by me in my letter of the 31st March" 
(not located). 

9. Wright had showed him a very large map of the Mariposa re- 
gion. He regretted that during the two years of his agency JCF had 
not been able to send him such a map. If it were correct, he would 
have been happy to possess it; if it were not, Wright ought not to ex- 
hibit it. 

10. The public and press had expressed approval of his proceed- 
ings, but JCF seemed only to disapprove. 

11. Sargent's bill in Chancery would not have been filed had JCF 
sustained Hoffman on his arrival. 

12. Wright had discussed the Sargent case with him. "But Mr. 
Wright did not show me your written declamation of the Conditional 
Sale — nor did he allude to any written one on board ship, as stated in 
Sargent's Bill — but on the contrary he stated you had prompdy re- 


jected the sale at Chagres verbally and that Mr. Heap had advised you 
to make a written one which was done, he says, and also that Mr. 
Heap had offered to accompany you to England for the express pur- 
pose of sustaining by his evidence the written rejection at Chagres. 
This impressed me so highly as to the honorable course of Mr. Heap 
that I expressed to my friends a prompt desire to call on Mr. Heap 
and to express to him my gratification; and this would have been 
done had it not been for the idea subsequendy imparted to me that 
my good feeling in this regard would not be reciprocated! . . . The 
Bill in Chancery states not only an actual authority to Flandin to 
make the Sale but also that he possesses your Tide Deeds from Al- 
verado &c. This is new to me!" 

13. The Mining Journal had been too full to take the information 
from the California newspaper, which JCF had sent to Hoffman, but 
from the information he had prepared a long article which had ap- 
peared in the London Sun and the Daily News. His companies had 
united in publishing at their expense a separate edition of more than 
5,000 copies. 

14. The correspondence with Gen. Walbridge was a curious one, 
but he had kept it secret and was willing to bury all with reference to 
the Agua Fria, provided justice was done him by all. 

15. He is preparing material for Lawford. 

16. Hoffman was surprised at JCF's "small intimation" about Rob- 
ert, who was then seriously ill, but hoped he would investigate and 
make amends if the rumor were untrue. 

17. Has learned that JCF spent an evening with Sir Roderick 
Murchison. "I trust that Gentleman has by this time gotten over his 
absurdities as to Gold in California and in the Ural Mountains!" He 
had been the "Magnus Apollo" of opposition to the idea of quartz 
gold existing at all. 

18. Hoffman is pained by JBF's unhappiness with him. Her aliena- 
tion stemmed from the fact that he had published her 1 Aug. 1851 
letter (Doc. No. 149) in his pamphlet and had defended JCF and his 
property at some expense to the reputation of her father. 

19. He understands that JCF still wishes to sell his estate to some- 
one else for about a million dollars instead of the larger sum he had 
mentioned to him. But that was his affair. 

20. Fourteen months ago he had drawn a bill on JCF for £260 and 
was now surprised to learn that he knew nothing about it. As it was 
still outstanding, he would pay George Peabody immediately. He had 


not received any compensation for either his disbursements or labors 
in JCF's behalf and yet was being treated as his debtor. Two copies, 
one of which appear in the Brief, Bill and Answer (in Chancery) of 
Fremont v. Hoffman.] 

229. David Hoffman to Jessie B. Fremont 

[London], 8 April 1852, 9 o'clock 

[He had waited last night some hours.' Was pained that she had 
not read his private letter of that day at the time of his call at the 
Clarendon Hotel. He is going to see Lawford. "I see clearly how all 
things can be set right, but surely not by still persisting in dealing with 
your best friend for two years as a villainW He was surprised not 
to find Wright, but his whereabouts were unknown. He would be 
happy to hear if JCF is released (i.e., from arrest) and, if not, where 
he might see him. Copy.] 

1. Hoffman had waited for a message from JBF concerning her husband, 
who had been arrested on the evening of 7 April for the nonpayment of four 
drafts which he had drawn as governor of Cahfornia upon the Secretary of State 
for supphes furnished to the battalion by one F. Hiittmann, but since sold to 
Anthony Gibbs and Sons of London. He spent the night in Sloman's Lock-up in 
Cursitor Street, Chancery Lane, while JBF sought bail. See Doc. No. 236 for 
Hoffman's version of the events of that evening. 

230. Jessie B. Fremont to Hoffman 

8th April/52 

Mr. Hoffman need not trouble himself to take the long drive into 
the City as Mr. Fremont has no longer any need of assistance. Mr. 
Wright went at once last night to Mr. Peabody, whom he found but 
after some delay. Mr. Fremont knew nothing of Mrs. Fremont's appli- 
cation to Mr. Hoffman [for bail money] and disapproves of it, know- 
ing it was useless! 



AL-JBF (NHi — David Hoffman Papers). Endorsed: "Mrs. Fremont's Fi- 
nale!!" Also: "Quere by whom written? and when written, and where written." 
The date is not in the handwriting of either of the Fremonts and must have been 
added later, possibly by Hoffman. 

231. Fremonts Public Notice on 
Leasing and Sale 

[13 April 1852] 

Mariposa Estate. I, the undersigned, John Charles Fremont, of 
San Francisco, in California, now residing in London, at the Claren- 
don Hotel, in Albemarle St., do hereby give notice to all whom it may 
concern that I am ready to carry into effect all such contracts or agree- 
ments for leases of parts of the Mariposas Estate, as are legally binding 
upon me, which have been duly made and entered into prior to the 
20th of December, 1851, by Hon. David Hoffman, then acting as my 
attorney in London, under a power of attorney, bearing date May 
1850, and which power was revoked in October 1851, and notice of 
such revocation was received by said David Hoffman on the 19th De- 
cember following. 

And I hereby invite all persons in possession of such contracts to 
transmit forthwith to my Solicitors, Messrs. E. J. H. and J. Lawford, 
of Draper's Hall, Throgmorton St., London, authentic copies of such 
contracts or agreements, and to apprise my said Solicitors when and 
where the originals can be inspected by them on my behalf 

And I further give notice that I repudiate and disclaim (as I always 
have repudiated and disclaimed) the sale alleged to have been made 
by Col. Benton to Thomas Denny Sargent, Esqr., on the 29th Janu- 
ary 1852. 

13 April 1852. John Charles Fremont 

Newspaper clipping (NHi — David Hoffman Papers). Probably from the 
London Daily News, 13 or 14 April 1852 (see Doc. No. 234). Also printed in 
Weef(ly Aha California, 26 June 1852. 


232. Fremont to Thomas H. Benton 

Clarendon House, London, April 13 '52 

I have been arrested for $50,000 for California liabilities contracted 
during the war and which we brought before Congress in 1848. I 
spent one night in a "Sponging House," (ante room to the jail) being 
arrested at night, and was bailed out next day, by Mr. George Pea- 
body, the eminent American merchant here. Offers of service from 
numerous friends, including Mr. Lawrence, the Barings, and others 
were promptly made. I have reason to believe that many others of 
these liabilities will be urged upon me. If I was [as] great a patriot as 
you, I would go to jail and stay there until Congress paid these de- 
mands, now over a million, but my patriotism has been oozing out for 
the last five years. As my detention here promises to be long, you will 
gready contribute to our comfort by getting me appointed charge to 
some neighboring power, to protect me from further arrests & help to 
pay expenses.' 

• • • • 

[John C. Fremont] 

Excerpt from ALS of Thomas H. Benton to Daniel Webster, ca. 14 May 1852 
(Microcopy No. M-872, Roll 6, Letters of Application and Recommendation 
during the Administration of James Polk, Zachary Taylor, and Millard Fillmore, 
1845-53). Endorsed: "Received, May 15th '52." 

1. In making the extract for Webster, Benton wrote that he was "confident 
that both the Secretary [of State] and the President will be glad to do anything 
for Mr. Fremont which circumstances and a sense of duty will permit." 

233. Thomas Denny Sargent's Notice on the 

Sale of the Mariposa 

[ca. 14 April 1852] 

Mariposa Estate. I, the undersigned, Thomas Denny Sargent, of 
Washington, in the United States, now residing at the York Hotel, 


London, do hereby give notice, that the sale of the Mariposas Estate of 
Honorable John Charles Fremont, of San Francisco, was duly and 
completely made to me on the 29th of January last, at Washington, by 
Colonel Thomas H. Benton, the father-in-law and legally constituted 
attorney for the express purpose of the said John Charles Fremont; 
and I have, in assertion of my rights as such purchaser, filed a bill in 
Chancery against the said John Charles Fremont; and I hereby give 
notice to all persons holding leases or contracts for leases from David 
Hoffman, Esqr., that the said Mariposas Estate being no longer vested 
in the said John Charles Fremont, but in me alone, any contracts or 
deeds signed by him in regard to such Hoffman leases or contracts 
will have no validity or effect unless recognized and confirmed by me. 

Thomas Denny Sargent 

Printed in Wee/{ly Alta California, 26 June 1852, which indicates that it came 
from the London Daily News of 15 April and was a reply to JCF's advertisement 
of 13 April 1852. 

234. David HoflFman to Fremont 

Conduit Street, 14 April 1852 

[Is leaving for Paris to visit his family. "Specimens receipted for by 
Col. Fremont as being sent by the Express" have not reached London. 
Four other specimens brought by Robert, and one sent later to Hoff- 
man by JCF, are at his disposal. Hears that there is some advertise- 
ment by JCF in the Daily News (see Doc. No. 231). Copy.] 

235. Fremont to Felix Argenti 

London April 21st. 1852 
Dear Sir, 

I desire to say to you that I very much regret the delay you have 
experienced in obtaining payment at Washington for Col. Johnsons 


Dfts. [Col. Adam Johnstons drafts.].' We have been using & shall con- 
tinue to use urgent efforts to obtain from Congress an early appropri- 
ation, which the language of the authorities at Washington has fully 
justified us in expecting. 

Should the payment however be delayed beyond the 30 of June I 
will endeavor from other sources to make provisions for the Dfts. you 
hold.- In the meantime I am with regard, Respectfully Yours, 

(Signed) J C Fremont 

Felix Argenti Esqr. 
Morley Hotel [London] 

Copy (CSmH). Enclosed in Argenti to John A. Rockwell, 4 April 1859. Ar- 
genti requested that Rockwell find the original letter and send it to him, since 
JCF was then contending — 1859 — that the banker had taken the drafts without 
recourse on him. 

1. See Doc. No. 167 for the Fremont-Wright contract with Adam Johnston. 
Argenti claimed that $49,000 in drafts had been endorsed to him by JCF (House 
Report 127, 33rd Cong., 2nd sess., Serial 808). The 1857 deposition of George W. 
Wright in the Quintard case (M. A. Goodspeed, Jr., Collection) and the Fremont 
and Roach case imply $42,000 (4 Court of Claims Reports, Dec. Term, 1868, pp. 

2. JCF did not make provision for reimbursing Argenti, and the latter peti- 
tioned Congress for relief. The committee report was negative, alleging that 
Johnston had exceeded his authority and that there was no proof that the sup- 
plies provided earlier to the Indians by Commissioner Barbour were insufficient 
or that the beef had been used to feed the Indians. Argenti must look to either 
JCF or Johnston for redress of his grievance (House Report 127, 33rd Cong., 2nd 
sess., Serial 808). 

Later Argenti began a suit in the 12th District Court of California (Argenti v. 
United States, CHi — Wright Papers), but it seems not to have reached final deci- 
sion. However, it was sufficiently far along on 14 Jan. 1857 for JCF to write 
Montgomery Blair seeking to learn "what probably will be the decision" (DLC 
— F. P. Blair Family Papers). Somehow the drafts or a part of them passed into 
the hands of Orestes Quintard, who sought recovery from JCF in the New York 
Supreme Court (1857 deposition of George W Wright in the Quintard case, 
M. A. Goodspeed, Jr., Collection). According to the testimony of JCF s attorney. 
Coles Morris, there was an out-of-court settlement. Quintard assigned the drafts 
to his own attorney, John Baker, and Baker agreed to release JCF Irom all per- 
sonal liability on the payment of $10,000, which, according to Morris, JCF did 
pay. Baker unsuccessfully petitioned Congress on the drafts, and on his death his 
executors, of whom John Roach was one, and JCF brought an action to recover 
(see Fremont and Roach's case, 4 Court of Claims Reports, Dec. Term, 1868, pp. 


236. David Hoffman to Fremont 

To the Honorable 
Col. J. C. Fremont 
Dear Sir 

29 April 1852 

I now feel it to be a duty I owe myself and even to you to state some 
matters, which, possibly are quite unkrioivn to you, and which may be 
in some degree the cause of your total alienation from me since our 
meeting at your special request at Mr. Lawfords Office. What had 
however previously taken place was far from being satisfactory to me 
and my friends. But still I referred all to a hasty judgment on your 
part and also to the embarrassing circumstances in what you imag- 
ined yourself to be placed. I now allude chiefly to the circumstances 
attendant upon the provoking arrest — my belief now being that you 
are even to this hour wholly uninformed of what did occur on that 
painful night and the following morning, as respect myself, and you 
have been permitted to remain under the most mistaken impressions 
as to what was my deportment on that occasion, and therefore I pro- 
ceed to state them and with no other view whatsoever then that you 
may possess the fullest means of forming a correct opinion before you 
finally act. 

At about 9 o'clock of the night of your arrest, I was extremely un- 
well and had retired with a draft for my severe cold. My Servant en- 
tered my Chamber with the Message that Colonel and Mrs. Fremont 
desired to see me! My surprise was great and being really quite un- 
well, my reply was that I was too unwell and had retired for the night, 
but that I would pay my respects next morning. The servant returned 
with a new message that ''Mrs. Fremont must see me on very important 
business" and a moment after, Mrs. Fremont and a strange Gentle- 
men were in my Parlour, where I had left my Secretary, Mr. Holmes 
(in all my confidence for two years). In a minute after, I entered from 
my Chamber, and at once saw that it was not Colonel Fremont but a 
strange Gentleman who then was engaged in something that seemed 
to me a slight altercation with my Secretary! I at once asked Mrs. 
Fremont and the strange Gentleman to be seated, but the latter still 
persisted in stating to Mr. Holmes that a private interview was re- 
quired and both the Lady and Gentleman emphatically declined to be 
seated. My prompt words again were "pray be seated, the gentleman 
will at once retire," and he promptly did so. I then asked the Stranger 


twice, "Who have I the honour to see?" and no reply, but in a mo- 
ment after, he gave me the name of "Mr. Heap." I again urged both to 
be seated — the Gentleman declined by action, and the Lady spoke 
emphatically. Mr. Heap never uttered a word after! The words that 
followed from Mrs. Fremont were, "Do you know me?" "I believe so 

Lady ." "My husband is arrested." Mr. Hoffman reply, "I am 

grieved to hear it." Lady reading from the first lines of my private 
letter just received by her, "you say you are still loyal to Colonel Fre- 
mont." Mr. Hoffman, "I certainly am but have you read that letter?" ' 
Lady, "oh no! its too long." Mr. Hoffman, "Do be seated." Lady, "No 
I want no words. I have no time for that. I want £4000 and must have 
it." Mr. Hoffman, "I certainly have no £4000 to give you. I have but 
£600 out of Bank, and that is a mere accident, being too unwell and 
too busy to deposit it." Lady, "Oh don't tell me that. I know all about 
it. I know you have the money there. I was told so. I must have it." Mr. 
Hoffman, "If you had read that letter you would have found your 
mistake. I have no money beyond the £600 out of Bank and none of it 
due to Colonel Fremont. The Company's money I cannot, and will 
not part with. Colonel Fremont is my Debtor — not my Creditor — I 
am really much pained at what you state." Lady, "Do you know who I 
am? Here is my name." (Taking up a pen and writing her name at 
full length). Mr. Hoffman, "I do not at all doubt it Madame, but I 
have no such a sum — nothing but the £600 not mine — nor his." Lady 
"Oh don't tell me so, I will have it. I know all about you. Well, will 
you then go his Bail?" Mr. Hoffman, "I will not I cannot, that will 
not be in my power." (Mr. Heap returns to the Carriage). Lady, "You 
are a great rascal — my father says so." Mr. Hoffman, "It is of no mo- 
ment to me what he says. I know myself" The Lady remained a mo- 
ment after descending a few steps to the first Landing and continuing 
her vituperation, "You talk too much and write too much. You cannot 
talk little." My reply I do not remember. Mrs. Fremont then joined 
Mr. Heap in the Carriage. 

I instantly prepared to see the American Minister to devise some 
plan for Colonel Fremont's instant relief I well knew that I could not 
be Bail and that moreover it required two, and that as a Foreigner 
I could not be one. I likewise knew that the Minister could not be 
one — certainly I should have thought of prompt means had the Lady 
been the least calm and not overwhelmed me with a shower of words 
against me that necessarily drove out all means of deliberation. But a 
few minutes after Mrs. Fremont's departure I called on Mr. Lawrence 


who had not yet returned from dinner at Lord Palmerston's. From 
there I proceeded to the Clarendon Hotel, hoping that Mrs. Fremont 
might be able by that time to inform me where Colonel Fremont was. 
At that Hotel, I wrote a respectful note to Mrs. Fremont asking for an 
interview. A Message came that she would see me. I necessarily felt 
greatly pained at her situation, and all the vituperation of the late In- 
terview was wholly forgotten by me, and I entered her Parlour with 
an earnest wish to be of all the service in my power. I took my Seat by 
her, and was pleased to find her apparently calm. I stated that she had 
dealt with me severely, to which she replied, "My only regret is to 
have used such language to a Man of your age," or words to that 
effect. I then asked where Colonel Fremont could be found. The re- 
ply was, "I do not know." Mr. Hoffman, "Will you see Mr. Lawrence 
here? " Lady, "I left a Note for him and expect him soon." Mr. Hoff- 
man, "I am just from his House but he is still out at dinner." Lady, 
"You did not, I hope, say any thing there." Mr. Hoffman, "Oh no, I 
asked for the Minister, and whether Mrs. Fremont had lately called, 
but I will now leave a note for Mr. Lawrence with you." Paper and 
Ink were then handed to me by Mrs. Fremont, and I wrote a kind 
note to Mr. Lawrence (and I left it open for him after reading it to 
her) which note, as also the one to her written in Mr. Wrights Room 
asking for the interview I trust you will read. Upon handing the note 
for Mr. Lawrence to Mrs. Fremont, she said, "You are the last person 
in the world that either Colonel Fremont or myself would have called 
on." Mr. Hoffman, "I am sorry you think so, I think I should have 
been the very first." Mr. Hoffman then rising, said, "As you do not 
know where Colonel Fremont can be found I do not see what I can 
now do further." The Lady also then rising said, "You seem to have a 
very impudent person with you," alluding to my Secretary. "Oh no, 
Madame, it was only that he was ungraciously pressured by Mr. Heap 
to leave the Room before I could give him a sign. I have so many 
strange visitors that I am obliged to have some rule. He is a very ami- 
able and respectful Man, and retired as soon as requested by me." Mr. 
Hoffman then took his respectful leave and there the somewhat pain- 
ful second interview ended. I then retired to my Lodgings, where I 
waited for some message from the Clarendon (should Mr. Lawrence 
be there as was confidently believed by Mrs. Fremont). But as 1 o'clock 
came, and no message I retired for the night and on the next morning 
early, by 9 o'clock, I addressed a kind note to Mrs. Fremont again 
tendering her my services and requesting to know whether she had 


learnt where Colonel Fremont could be found by me, which note you 
possibly may not have seen, and a copy is now sent." A prompt reply (I 
think by 10 '/z o'clock) came to me, copy of which note I now also send 
to you. You will observe that this Note of reply to mine has no date, no 
signature, no place, and the handwriting is not known to me.' Whether 
it be your s or Mrs. Fremont's or Mr. Heap's, or Mr. Wright's, I cannot 
positively say. But of this I am quite sure, the note is most unjust to 
me, by whomsoever written, as my deportment upon the whole mat- 
ter of your arrest was prompt — feeling — courteous — but^;7w; I well 
knew I could not be Bail; and I had done all in my power and all that 
justice and good breeding required at my hands. And again on the 
following day I think the 8th April, I addressed a volunteer letter to 
Mr. Lawford dictated in the kindest spirit respecting the probable 
cause of your unjust arrest expressing to that Gentleman (your now 
Representative) my indignation at that arrest, my desire to explain to 
Mr. Lawford my belief as to the source of that arrest and my reasons 
for believing it to be wholly a Government debt and not Your's and 
also what I thought ought to be Yours and his course in regard to the 
same, and also as to a Letter to be written at once to the United States 
to put a stop to such cruel arrests in future. Now Sir, if the four Let- 
ters I have named as being written by me on the occasion of your 
arrest have been seen by you, it is possible that you can justify the note 
seemingly addressed to me by Mrs. Fremont at the moment she sup- 
posed you were released? But if none of these have been seen by you, 
and if you are under the naked impression that I coldly and cruelly 
neglected to sympathise with Mrs. Fremont and yourself you are un- 
der a very great mistake indeed, and such an idea would be not only 
in total conflict with all I really did in the matter, but also with my 
whole character. I make these explanations only that the absolute 
truth may be known to you. All the rest is with yourself Permit me in 
conclusion to make the following remarks and still in a spirit of kind- 
ness towards you but of resolution in repect to myself: 

1. This is the first instance ever known to me where a Principal 
sees fit to voluntarily stultify himself, cast off all intercourse with his 
Agent, who alone knows all the facts, and all the Law of his Case, and 
place the whole in the hands of a total Stranger, himself overwhelmed 
with occupations, and where the Principal, the Agent, and the selected 
Solicitor are all placed in a false position, and all rendered alike — 
utterly useless, but where by unity of action, all would have been tri- 
umphant success. 


2. Supposing, argumenti gratia [?] that I am a very great Rascal, 
still that fact was positively the very reason why both you and Mr. 
Lawford should have acted precisely the reverse of what has been done. 

3. But Sir, you know and all know that my whole life is sans re- 
proche. You cannot put your finger on a single transaction of that agen- 
cy, nor of my life, that will not bear the closest scrutiny. 

4. I sought not the Agency and had ten others which amounted to 
far more than your one: and yet I was obliged to abandon every thing 
for yours after I once became engaged in it. I had read your history, I 
remembered you as a young Man, I was charmed with Mr. Nicollet. 
I became enthusiastic in your Cause. And how have you treated me? 
Nay how have treated yourself? I confidently reply, in a way that 
must be your total ruin, if you do not with earnestness and great good 
sense, place all things as they were or should have been, at the mo- 
ment of your arrival, and which would have been all right had you 
sailed for Southhampton instead of New York. 

5. Is it possible Sir, that Mr. Lawford and yourself still commune 
with such persons as Mr. Lakeman and a dozen of the like. "Madness 
and confusion lie in that way." Regularity and Harmony is the way 
that has been pursued by me for two years. All of the Companies are 
composed of business Men, of means and of high character; but the 
Ave Maria, the West Mariposa, and the Agua Fria have done all kinds 
of strange things that cannot command public confidence. I well know 
that the Agua Fria were at £3.10.0 for £1 paid but what reduced them 
down to their present low condition since their [?] arrival? And what 
reduced all of the premiums to either /7«r or to discount? Surely noth- 
ing else than your fatal selection of a Solicitor, thereby, casting off first 
all of my knowledge of the facts and the law of your case. Second, 
causing many persons to question, for the first time, your title, the 
value of your estate, your consistency, your honour, and even calling 
you the "Great Avaricious Repudiator!" Now Sir, who (but myself) 
manfully resisted all this even since your arrival, and amidst all the 
innuendos of yourself, your Solicitor, and your enemies. Who (but 
yourself) has nearly broken down and cast to the winds a great sys- 
tem built up by my influences and zeal, that would have poured into 
California more than 20,000,000 of dollars, and upon your estate a 
large portion of it? Can the ruin you have thus far caused be cured? I 
do not know. 

6. The effect of all this strange condition of things since your ar- 
rival is to cause people to again suspect everything. Two years of labor 

in removing all objections now put in jeopardy and all risked very 
unnecessarily provided your property is even approximating as valu- 
able as stated. 

In final conclusion, I have only further to state that my Communi- 
cations to Mr. Lawford of this day bring the whole matter as clearly to 
his view as I possibly can, and to the full extent to which I mean to go 
in the matter with that gentleman. 

The whole affair is susceptible of being brought within a very few 
words, and a very few and simple proceedings. 

Where there is a ''good wilF there is always a ''good wayT I now 
think I have fully discharged my duty to you. The future must guide 
my steps under the Counsel of my friends, and also under my own 
sober deliberations. Yours, 

To Col. Fremont 

SC (NHi — David Hoffman Papers). Endorsed: "Letter (after sending to Mr. 
L[awford] further accounts). Important to show the unjust feeHng against Mr. 

1. See Hoffman to JCF, 8 April 1852 (Doc. No. 228). 

2. Doc. No. 229. 

3. Doc. No. 230. 

237. Fremont to Messrs. Howland & 


Paris, April 30th. 1852 
Messrs. Howland & Aspinwall 
New York 

Five days after sight of this my second of exchange (first of same 
tenor and date not paid) please pay to the order of Dr. H[arvey] 
Lindsley, of the City of Washington, D.C., the sum of one thousand 
dollars ($1000) and charge the same to the account of Your Obedt. 

John Charles Fremont 
ALS (PHi). 


238. David Hoffman to Fremont 

[London], 4 May 1852 

[Writes him about the article in the London Times of that morning 
wherein the California agent of the Nouveau Monde, John H. Clem- 
ent, noticed that JCF's title and his ability to put parties in possession 
of mineral grants were so tenuous as to raise questions about the wis- 
dom of the company establishing itself on his property. The implica- 
tion was that the company would seek another field for its operations. 
Hoffman notes that JCF has the right to see the letter from Clement 
and all of the company's instructions to him. He must be first in pro- 
tecting his interests; Hoffman could give him much information, but 
JCF has cast him off. Copy.] 

239. Fremont to Joseph C. Palmer 

7 May 1852 

Dear Sir, 

This letter will be handed to you by Mr. Franz Jacob Schmitz who 
goes to California on the part of the present holders of a Lease granted 
to Lord Erskine and others under the title of the British Mutual Gold 
Mining Company.' The object of this brief note is to ask you to give to 
Mr. Schmitz the advantage of your friendly aid and experience in get- 
ting his mining materials to the ground & to give him all possible aid 
in making the selection of his location at Mariposa. You will be care- 
ful to observe that possession be given him strictly in conformity to 
the Lease granted to the British Mutual & which you will find among 
the Mariposa papers left with you. If it be not already occupied please 
instruct Mr. Parkes ' to put Mr. Schmitz in possession of the vein in 
rear of the point located by Wass, Molitor & Company and if that be 
taken up request Mr. Parks to give his aid in pointing out the best 
locations to ensure to this company a good position. The present is 
intended principally to remove any difficulties in Mr. Schmitzs way 
and to ensure him a friendly reception by the next Mail from London 


or Paris. I will write you at length upon this subject with regard, I am 
yours truly, 

John Charles Fremont 

Copy (NHi — David HofFman Papers). Contained in the Fremont v. Hoff- 
man, Brief, Bill, and Answer, p. 15. 

1. The company was now known as the Quartz Rock Mariposa Gold Mining 
Company (see its papers on Film Z-6-1, Reel 58, CU-B). 

2. Formerly employed by the Philadelphia and CaHfornia Mining Company, 
Parke seemed now to be serving as JCF s agent on the Mariposa. 

240. David HofFman to Fremont 

10 Conduit Street, Hanover Square, 13 July 1852 

[Although the agency between them is now ended and Stephen 
Lakeman is JCF's agent, still HofFman feels he has a duty to state a 
number of things. 

1. He will soon file his answer to the bill of Chancery which JCF 
filed against him on 12 June to obtain the agency contracts and pa- 
pers. It has been delayed by his indisposition, the unprecedented heat, 
and the recent death of his only brother (John Hoffrnan). 

2. JCF has never asked for 2iny formal account until he asked it 
by his bill in Chancery, which he regards as a proceeding of great 

3. When JCF first spoke of having a solicitor, he put it upon the 
grounds of his own lack of health and the need for objectivity, dis- 
claiming hostility to HofFman. "And upon those grounds you re- 
quested me, as a favor, to meet your solicitor, which I did." 

4. He has served JCF conscientiously, laboriously, and with a re- 
gard for economy. 

5. With his own money he has sustained the agency for two years. 
Not a shilling has JCF paid. 

6. All his contracts were legal, bona fide, and made long before 
JCF's letter reached him on 20 Dec. JCF may break them all, but that 
is his responsibility — moral as well as pecuniary. Some of the final 
formalities were not drawn up until later, but the contracts are valid. 

7. He claims to be his agent until at least 13 April 1852, when JCF 


inserted his advertisement [Doc. No. 231], but even then his agency 
was not legally ended and he will claim essential disbursements to 

15 July. 

8. Lawford knows that the little informal account which HoflFman 
had rendered was not intended to bind either party. He had offered 
Lawford or his clerks the use of his office to make copies of all papers 
resulting from a two-year agency, but Lawford "was too much oc- 
cupied, or too indolent" to accept, and imposed upon Hoffman "a 
physical and an intellectual impossibility." Hoffman then offered cop- 
ies of the essential documents provided he was compensated for his dis- 
bursements and services, but replies were "equivalent to either nothing 
or to a denial, or to mere reference to you, whereas you had referred 

me to him." 

9. He then offered to arbitrate his disbursement account and com- 
pensation, but did not receive replies. He offered to explain all things 
verbally but was refused. When he inquired if JCF might leave for 
California without paying him, Lawford again did not reply. 

10. The solicitor had likewise refused Hoffman's request to peruse 
JCF's answer to Sargent's bill in Chancery. 

11. Hoffman is mystified by JCF's lack of interest in information, 
his aloofness, and his treatment of him as though he were "dishonest, 
a fool and mere trickster!" 

12. "It was cruelly false, in whoever asserted to you that I de- 
manded £60,000 as a settlement." Furthermore, he has been straight- 
forward and honest and has not speculated in the companies. 

13. Robert's power of attorney has never been revoked, but he has 
made no contracts since 20 Dec. 1851 and he only demanded money 
for his disbursements from the time Hoffman ceased to pay him until 
the revocation of his power, along with his passage to Baltimore. JCF 
was legally bound to restore him to the United States, since he had 
sent him to London. Copy. Endorsed: "Sent to Paris through Mrs. H."] 

241. David Hoffman to Fremont 

10 Conduit Street, London, 25 July 1852 

[Lawford has not replied to his letter of 24 July or JCF to his of 13 
July. News of the deaths of Henry Clay, a Baltimore friend, and his 
brother, have increased his gloom. 


The disbursement account and all vouchers were ready and the ac- 
count has been sent to Mr. Lawford. The answer to the bill in Chanc- 
ery would be filed in a few days. Inquires if it is JCF s "fixed inten- 
tion" to further waste him in mind and body. "Pay me reasonably my 
Disbursement and my Compensation. The papers are always yours upon 
those terms. I never demanded for a moment any specific sum. All was 
left to himself [Lawford], yourself, and to my Solicitor. Is that unfair? 

"May you. Sir, never find persons disposed to torment you unnec- 
essarily when you arrive at my age — now in my 67th year. And may 
you never find a Stolid Solicitor (with a hundred times more business 
on hand than he can comprehend) willing to add to your declining 
days a misery not at all your due." Copy. Addressed to JCF in Paris.] 

242. Fremont to Messrs. Storer & Stephenson 

Paris, July 26th 1852 

I have this day been informed by Mr. Frederick Goodell, that he 
has received from you a letter in which it is stated that you have ad- 
vanced to Major Genl. Wm. Gibbs McNeill,' the sum of five hundred 
pounds on my account. This information has caused me much sur- 
prise and the object of this note is to say to you (should the informa- 
tion I have received be correct) that this money has been obtained 
without my consent or authority. Genl. McNeill was authorized in 
writing, to demand and receive a certain specified sum of money, stip- 
ulated to have been paid to me under certain engagements, but nei- 
ther he or any one else was authorized to borrow money of which I 
am not in need. 

I write this for your guidance, as you will not look to me for repay- 
ment of any sums so advanced. Respectfully Your obedient servant, 

John Charles Fremont 
Messrs. Storer & Stephenson 
No. 53 South Street, New York 

ALS-JBF (NN — Miscellaneous Papers). Storer & Stephenson of New York 
were shipchandlers. 

1. Formerly connected with the Corps of Topographical Engineers, McNeill's 
major generalship was due to a commission in the state mihtia of Rhode Island. 

Since 1851 he had been in London promoting "great American mining proj- 
ects," and seems to have had a stake in the Agua Fria. When a crisis occurred 
in that company's affairs at the end of May 1852, he went to Paris to seek JCF's 
return to London (cullum, 1:161-66; M. A. Goodspeed, Jr., Collection). 

243. Fremont to William M. Gwin 

Paris, Avenue des Champs Elysees 61, 

Dec. 20. 52 
My dear Sir, 

I see by the papers your arrival at New York, & hasten to make you 
my earnest acknowledgements for your kindness & support in having 
obtained from Congress means to pay the War Drafts upon which I 
was sued in London. Your immediate departure for California pre- 
vented the prompt acknowledgement of the letter in which you in- 
formed me of the condition of things at the adjournment of Congress. 
I greatly hope that the present Congress will authorize the Secretary 
to make the payment, as otherwise the embarrassments which sur- 
round me will be greatly increased, & it would be very mortifying if 
Mr. George Peabody, who became my bail on the occasion, should be 
obliged to pay the drafts. 

Will you do me the favor to forward the enclosed to Palmer, Cook 
& Co.? I write as strongly as possible to urge them to obtain the action 
of the Commission upon the Mariposas title, if it can possibly be had. 
My counsel promised me the ratification by several mails back, but we 
have been disappointed & have heard not a word by the last two mails. 
All our business here depends entirely on the ratification. Our success 
will be immense if we receive it, but if we do not, & soon, the result 
will be ruinous. There never has been so strong a feeling in favor of 
gold mining as at this time. All the companies are at high premiums, 
the Australian Agricultural Company (which the Mariposas might 
have rivalled) being at 180 pounds sterling premium per share. The 
Mariposa is kept back & daily weakened by the distrust in which the 
doubt of title & delay of the Commission to act has placed it. In 
the mean time Australia is rapidly becoming very popular, & absorb- 
ing capital immensely. If we do not soon get our title the Mariposa, so 
far as regards the quartz crushing on it & results, will be valueless. 


This I should think as a State question, & apart from the friendly 
regard which I have had the pleasure to enjoy from you, would have 
interest for you. It is certain that the capital of several millions of 
pounds sterling which might have been employed at the Mariposas, 
will be so far as its results are concerned a clear loss to the state. 

It has been proved upon the ground & in your own knowledge, 
that American capital never can work the ground, & the occasion to 
put English capital there is rapidly passing in the greater inducements 
held out in Australia where companies can obtain properties embrac- 
ing several hundred thousand acres of land. Would you find the lei- 
sure to let me have a line in return & tell me what we may expect 
from the Land Commission & whether or not in the case of the Mari- 
posas there is likely to be had an early decision. As you are aware 
probably, it has been argued & submitted & stands No. 1 on the Docket. 

I trust that your visit to California was in all respects pleasant & 
satisfactory, and with our respectful regards & homage to Mrs. Gwin, 
I am very truly yours, 

J. C. Fremont 
Hon. Wm. M. Gwin 
U.S. Senate, 
Washington City. 

Pray put your reply under cover to John Lawford, Esqre., Drapers 
Hall, Throgmorton Street, London. He is my solicitor & through him 
letters reach me with least delay, ut supra. 

ALS (CU-B). 


244. David Hoffman to Fremont 

45 Conduit Street, Hanover Square, 25 Jan. 1853 

[Inquires if there is still not a means of ending honorably, justly, 
and advantageously the disagreeable misunderstanding that has arisen 
between them. JCF seemed to listen to mere rumors; Wright could 
never have been worthy of his confidence, and Lawford had, without 
knowledge, termed Hoffman's business "moonshine." He again refers 


to JCF s declaration that he had heard something derogatory of Rob- 
ert's character and would like to know the accuracy of the report that 
he might govern his own conduct. The Nouveau Monde allege "that 
your course has compelled them to abandon the contracts, and to turn 
Squatters, appropriating the $200,000 raised upon your name, and 
through my toils and long continued influence here, and the exertions 
of Mr. Robert in Paris. They withheld all payments, all stock, but still 
they hold on to the contracts and intimate their intention to claim 
damages of you, instead of your demanding damages of them ! " He 
would like to know "what is to be done with certain shares of the 
Nouveau Monde, the French side by agreement to be converted into 
English shares, and which were retained for you in security for the 
£12,000 debt due you by Capt. W. K. Smith, the French Company, 
and others, and which as I contend are yours, but which, the English 
branch claim as theirs!" 

His present occupation is the publication of some volumes written 
by him in the United States {Chronicles Selected from the Origmab of 
Cartaphilus, the Wandering ]etv, 3 vols. [London: Thomas Bos worth, 
1853]). When it was completed, he would establish himself in Paris. 

His answer to the bill in Chancery has been filed nearly a month. 
Neither Mr. Marriotts' suggestion nor Mr. Lawford's threat of an at- 
tachment had hastened its filing. Draft.] 

1. Hoffman sometimes writes "Marryat" in designating JCF's agent, who at- 
tempted on several occasions to setde the controversy over Hoffman's compensa- 
tion. This would seem to be Frederick Marriott (1805-84), the founder of the 
present Illustrated London News, but who was in San Francisco in Jan. 1852 
advertising himself as a "Loan, Stock and Money Agent" as well as a dealer 
in exchange on all nations (cross, 1:155-58, 296-98). In the "Resume of his 
Agency," Hoffman recounts how Marriott had sailed from San Francisco to New 
York with JCF (this would have been in Feb. 1852) and then had taken passage 
on the Baltic (a few days ahead of the Fremonts in the Africa) "to relieve the 
mind of Mr. Hoffman" on the Sargent contract. 

Another British emigre to California in 1850, Frank S. Marryat, was also 
traveling home about this time, although he recollects not leaving California un- 
til March. He would call upon Hoffman in London and would leave an account 
of his experiences in the mines of Sonora and Tuttletown in Mountains and 
Molehills; or, Recollections of a Burnt Journal (London, 1855). 

The identity of JCF's emissary is further confused by newspapers' listing of 
passengers. "F. Marriot" arrived in New York with the Fremonts; "F. Maryatt" 
sailed on the Baltic (New York Herald, 7 March 1852; New York Daily Tribune, 
8 March 1852). 


245. David Hoffman to Fremont 

London, 8 Feb. 1853 

[Wrote on 25 Jan. and is yet without attention. Copy. Addressed to 
JCF in Paris.] 

246. Fremont to David Hoffman 

Paris, Feb. 8th. 53 
David Hoffman, Esqre. 

I have received your note of this morning, & in reply to your inti- 
mation that you remain without attention from me, I have to say first, 
that I must continue to treat with neglect any communications from 
you which speak abusively of gentlemen with whom I am connected; 
& secondly, that pending a legal controversy I judged a correspon- 
dence between us inexpedient, & not likely to produce any good re- 
sult. But, whenever you really find it agreeable to your views to 
arrange the business between us, I see no difficulty in the way of a 
reasonable adjustment, without prejudice to the interests of either. It 
would simply be necessary to signify that you are disposed to under- 
take such a settlement in good faith, & to let alone the names & char- 
acter of individuals, who are not parties to the questions at issue. 

In such case we might proceed without recourse to the law. I re- 
main. Sir, Your obedt. servt. 

J. C. Fremont 

ALS (NHi — David Hoffman Papers). Endorsed: ^'Impossible, but in reply to 
mine of the 8th and received by me [the] 10th. But from the 25 Jan. to the 8 Feb. 
he was silent. If this was written on [the] Evening of the 8 Feb. Mr. Lawford was 
then there, and saw mine of the 25 Jan. and also Mr. Vennesss respecting the 
L'Aigle d'or." 


247. Fremont to David Hoffman 

Paris, Avenue des Champs Ely sees, 61; Feb 21. 53 
David Hoffman, Esqre. 

In pursuance of our recent correspondence I have sent to Mr. Law- 
ford some bases of an agreement upon which I think the question at 
issue may be satisfactorily settled. 

I suppose that they will be immediately communicated to you. I 
am respectfully Your Obdt. Servt. 

John C. Fremont 
ALS (NHi — David Hoffman Papers). 

248. David Hoffman to Fremont 

Friday P.M., 25 Feb. 1853 

[Refers to JCF's letter of 21 Feb. Neither he nor his solicitor has 
heard from Mr. Lawford about a settlement. Draft.] 

249. David Hoffman to Fremont 

45 Conduit Street, Hanover Square, 2 March 1853 

[Has still not heard from Mr. Lawford about the bases of an ar- 
rangement (see JCF's letter of 21 Feb.). It would be beneficial to both 
of them to get rid of all solicitorships and the quibbling about trifles. 
On 1 Feb. Lawford had filed exceptions to Hoffman's answer, but he 
will delay his own answer to the exceptions in hopes that he and JCF 
can end their controversy. Draft.] 


250. David Hoffman to Fremont 

London, Thursday, 9 March 1853 

[Has not had a reply to his letter of 2 March, and Lawford has not 
communicated to him the proposed bases of an agreement as JCF had 
indicated he would do by his letter of 21 Feb. Lawford insists that an 
attachment will issue against his person on the next day for failure to 
answer the exceptions. He considers the case out of law and hopes the 
letter will reach JCF before Lakeman leaves Paris for London. Wishes 
to avoid the months of legal delay and expense which will surely oc- 
cur if his answer is filed. Two copies, one dated 10 March, but the 
differences are minor.] 

251. David Hoffman to Fremont 

London, Saturday, 26 March 1853 

[Lakeman had called several times, but now he has not seen him 
for a number of days and wonders if JCF has changed his mind about 
a private settlement. Two weeks ago he had sent to his solicitors, Ven- 
ning, Naylor, and Robins, the answer to the exceptions, but after the 
arrival of Lakeman "as your agent to settle," he had asked for its re- 
turn and had been informed that the law proceeding against him had 
been suspended. Lakeman had indicated that one of the bases for set- 
tlement was that Hoffman continue his agency to those companies 
that he might be able to put into operation out of the twenty contracts 
he had made. Hoffman declined to do so on the score of health and 
family commitments. He has now been informed by his solicitors that 
Lawford requires that the answer be filed "this day" or he risks arrest. 
Hoffman desires to know if he is "in law, or in the process of some 
settlement.'' " 

He notes that he has sent the Andrew Smith contract to Smith's 
son, who said he wanted to send it to JCF Draft.] 


252. Fremont to David Hoffman 

61, Ave. des Champs Elysees, March 30. 53 

I have today returned to Paris after an absence of nearly a week & 
find here your letter of the 26th, postmarked 27th. 

By a letter received this morning I learn that Mr. Lakeman was 
called by business to Liverpool on the 24th. & is likely to remain there 
for some days to come, being detained by indisposition. 

Perhaps this absence may account for the delay which you inform 
me has occurred in approaching a setdement. Agreeably to your sug- 
gestion I gave Mr. Lakeman a written memorandum of the terms 
upon which the arrangement might be discussed. Of course, until 
your views should have been made known to me & it was ascertained 
that the settlement could not be made in a friendly manner, I would 
not be at liberty, nor would I desire, to change my mind, as you sug- 
gest I might have done. 

Your intimation in regard to seeing me in Paris might become the 
most advisable course, but I should think that yourself & Mr. Lake- 
man might in a very brief period accomplish it. As Mr. Lakeman has 
undertaken the negociation it would perhaps not be proper to inter- 
fere with him until he expresses some doubt of his ability to accom- 
plish it. 

I will write by this mail to Mr. Lawford upon the subject ot the 
suit, & hope that in the meantime no untoward circumstances may 
have occurred. I am respectfully Your Obedt. Servt., 

John C. Fremont 
ALS (NHi — David Hoffman Papers). Addressed and postmarked. 

253. David Hoffman to Fremont 

London, 31 March 1853 

[Replies to JCFs letter of 30 March. Has received a letter from 
Lakeman and has advised him to remain at the Adelphi Hotel in 
Liverpool until he has recovered from his illness.' Signed copy.] 


1. Lakeman was not able to effect a settlement between JCF and Hoffman. 
The documents do not clearly indicate the basis of negotiations, although Hoff- 
man implied in his letter of 26 March 1853 that JCF wished him to resume his 
agency to those companies which he might be able to put into operation out of 
the twenty contracts he had made. He declined to do so on the grounds that his 
health and family commitments did not permit it. Since the negotiations con- 
tinued for several additional weeks, there must have been other possibilities. No 
agreement, however, could be reached. Hoffman's attempt to communicate di- 
rectly with JCF's solicitor was rebuffed, and his own counsel warned him that it 
was really in vain to attempt to travel out of the beaten track. The answer to the 
exceptions had still not been filed by 4 May, and for a time it seemed as though 
Hoffman might be arrested and sent to prison (Walter C. Venning to Hoffman, 
16 April, 4 May 1853, and Hoffman to Venning, 5 May 1853). After other legal 
maneuvers the case was heard in the Vice-Chancellor's Court on 3 June, and 
Hoffman lost his attempt to withhold the documents until JCF compensated 
him for his services. Even the argument that the documents also pertained to the 
second agent, Robert, who was not a part of the defense, was insufficient to bar 
JCF's right to them (Venning, Naylor, and Robins to Hoffman, 24, 28 and 30 
May 1853, Hoffman Papers; report of the decision in Fremont v. Hoffman, Lon- 
don Times, 6 June 1853). 

JCF soon returned to the United States; Hoffman followed within a few 
months and died 11 Nov. 1854. Through the New York Supreme Court, his 
widow continued the legal struggle to obtain compensation for her husband's 
services, but was apparently unsuccessful (spence). 

254. Brantz Mayer to Fremont 

Baltimore, 25 April 1853 
My dear Colonel, 

I have inexpressible pleasure in congratulating you on your success 
in confirming the Title to your California Lands.' 

I suppose they will ultimately produce the full value of all your 
calculations as to their gold contents; though I doubt whether the 
quartz region will come properly into play until the loose gold shall 
have been thoroughly picked from the river bars and ravines. 

I cannot say how much I have been pained at hearing of the es- 
trangement between yourself and my old friend and professor Mr. 
David Hoffman. 

I take the liberty to express myself thus, because my Brother and 
myself were the means of your first business union. Neither Mr. 
Charles Mayer nor myself is yet precisely aware of the grounds of your 
difference, but I am sure that it can only have occurred in conse- 
quence of misapprehension or irritation which may be obliterated. 

For nearly twenty-four years my association with Mr. Hoffman 
was of the most intimate character. I know him to be exciteable, but 
with this exception I can safely and conscientiously say, that I am not 
aware of any fault that should create mortal enmity betwixt himself 
and others. In pecuniary affairs I know him to be the Soul of Honor; 
and from my correspondence with him about your affairs while you 
were in California, I am satisfied that no one ever had an agent who 
was impressed with a greater zeal for his principal's interest than you 
had in Mr. Hoffman. I think, if he is at fault, that it must be charge- 
able to an excess of his quality rather than to any thing else. 

His letters inform me how much he was thwarted and mortified 
by Col. Benton's sale to Denny Sargent when you had expressly dis- 
avowed the authority in letters to him. 

This placed him in a most awkward posture before the British 
public, and was well qualified to test his sensibilities. 

I write this much, not only to say, "how are you" once more, but 
with the hope — the hearty hope — that I may be instrumental — in 
restoring the kindly relations of two gentlemen whom I esteem and 
honor so much. You will do me the justice to believe that I am not 
offering this hope as an intermeddler. 

If Mrs. Fremont is still with you in Paris, pray be kind enough to 
bring me to her recollection and to offer her my respectful Compli- 

I am now occupied chiefly, as far as my eyes allow, in editing a 
leading paper in Baltimore. One of my last long articles is in fur- 
therance of Col. Benton's Scheme of the Great Central Road to the 
Pacific, the published plan of which I suppose he has sent you. 

When do you come home again? though after your toilsome life in 
the wilderness I dare say you have no objection to enjoying for a few 
years the mingled pleasures and science of Paris. I beg you to believe 
me very truly yr. friend, 

Brantz Mayer 
For the Honb. C. J. 
Fremont, Paris 

Copy (NHi — David Hoffman Papers). 

1. The California Board of Land Commissioners had confirmed title on 27 
Dec. 1852. 


255. Fremont to Charles E Smith 

Washington City, D.C. 
June 27, 1853 
Col. C. F. Smith, &c. &c. &c. 

Your note of the 21st was not received by me until this morning 
probably on account of my absence from the city to which I returned 

I had made some business engagements for tomorrow before re- 
ceiving your note, but will ascertain then, the earliest time which will 
be convenient to the board and make an appointment accordingly. 

I shall be happy to give any explanation or information in my 
power. Very respectfully, 

J. C. Fremont 

ALS, RC (DNA-92, LR, 1852-54). Endorsed: "Rec. June 28/53. No answer." 
JCF would meet with the California Claims Board several times during the 
summer of 1853 and immediately on his return from the fifth expedition was 
asked to attend again to give information on "claims now held suspended" 
(Charles F. Smith to Fremont, Lbk, DNA-92, LS, 1852-55, Microfilm roll 9). 

256. Certificates of John C. and Jessie B. 

Fremont Concerning Fremont's Absence from 

the Second Session of the 31st Congress 

[7 July 1853 and 5 Jan. 1854] 

I certify that after the close of the first Session of the 31st Congress 
I left Washington on my return to California — that a few days after 
leaving New York I was taken seriously ill & was confined to my 
stateroom during the whole voyage afterwards. That I was so ill on 
my arrival at San Francisco as to be unable to proceed to my proper 
residence at Mariposas, and remained accordingly confined in that 
city. And that I did not sufficiently recover my health in time to at- 
tend the second session of the 3 1 st Congress. The reasons for my ab- 


sence from my place were stated to the Senate by Col. Benton & will 
be found in the Journals of that body. 

John C. Fremont 
Washington City, July 7th. 1853. 

I accompanied Col. Fremont to California in the fall of 1850 — 
leaving New York on the Cherokee the 8th of October & arriving in 
San Francisco on the 21st of November. Col. Fremont was ill from 
neuralgic sciatica in the left leg & could not leave his room during the 
voyage. The sea air of San Francisco aggravated the disease and his 
physician, Dr. Bowie after attending him for six weeks in San Fran- 
cisco, sent Mr. Fremont to San Jose for the benefit of its soft climate. 
Mr. Fremont was there all January & about the twelfth or fourteenth 
of February he went to the Mariposas. As the journey then had to be 
made on horseback, it required him to be sure of his strength before 
undertaking it, and previous to that time he could not bend his leg. 

Jessie Benton Fremont 
Washington City Jany. 5th 1854. 

AD (lU). JCF received a total compensation of $8,1 10.40 during his tenure as 
senator in the 31st Congress. He was paid as follows: 

"Sept. 30, 1850 Mileage, 10,270 miles $4,108.00 

Sept. 30, 1850 Per diem, 230 days 1,840.00 

Dec. 2, 1853 additional mileage, 3,686 miles, short charged 1,474.40 

Feb. 11, 1854. Per diem for detention by sickness on journey 

home, 86 days 688.00" 

Senate Ex. Doc. 109, 34th Cong., 1st sess., p. 85, Serial 825. 

257. Fremont to P. G. Washington 

Monday July 11th 1853 
Dear Sir, 

I have the pleasure to thank you for the gratification afforded me 
by your note of Saturday informing me that the Honble. Secy, of 
the Treasury has requested our Minister at London to pay the recent 
award of the English court against me.' 


I will permit myself the pleasure to repeat my thanks in person, 
and in the meantime remain Yours very respectfully, 

J. C. Fremont 
Honble. P. G. Washington 
Asst. Secty. of the Treasury 

ALS-JBF (James S. Copley Collection, La Jolla, Calif.). 

1. On 6 May 1853, in the Exchequer of the Pleas, Middlesex, William Gibbs, 
Henry Hucks Gibbs, John Hayne, and George Thomas Davy (referred to as the 
Messrs. Anthony Gibbs) had won a favorable verdict in their suit against JCF, 
which had led to his arrest shortly after his arrival in London. He was ordered to 
pay the amount of the four bills of exchange (£3,988 12s. 9d.) with interest at the 
rate of 6 percent, the rate given at Washington, D.C., and court costs. Since the 
jury had found that the rate of interest in California in the late 1840s had been 
25 percent, the plaintiffs were later successful in having the full court order an 
increase in the interest rate to 25 percent for the period from 25 Oct. 1847 to 16 
June 1853. 

Fortunately for JCF, Senator Gwin and other friends had been at work, and 
under an act for his relief, approved 3 March 1853, Congress had authorized the 
Secretary of the Treasury to pay the drafts and costs of JCF s legal defense. To 
settle the judgment, the Secretary paid £9,933 7s. 9d. on 21 Sept. 1853 and ulti- 
mately $2,150.49 in defense fees. Many documents connected with the case and 
Messrs. E. J. H. and J. Lawford's itemization of attornies' fees may be found in 
Senate Ex. Doc. 109, 34th Cong., 1st sess., pp. 88-140, Serial 825. 

During the preparation of his legal defense, JCF had considered returning to 
the United States for three months in an attempt to get all claims with respect to 
California settled by the American government, and his bail was willing that he 
do so. Ultimately, however, the defense and plaintiffs requested the Barons of the 
Exchequer to appoint special commissioners in San Francisco, Philadelphia, and 
Washington to take testimony about conditions in California in 1847 and the 
nature of JCF s authority. As one of its witnesses, the Philadelphia commission 
called James Buchanan, who had been Secretary of State during the Mexican 
War. Most of his testimony may be found in a little pamphlet entitled "Who 
Conquered California?" Ironically, it was issued in 1856 by the Young Men's 
Fremont and Dayton Central Union when JCF and Buchanan were vying for 
the presidency. 


The Fifth and Final Expedition, 



258. Fremont Justifies His Forthcoming 


[Fall 1853] 

My own journeys through our interior mountains had already in 
1847 satisfied me that a direct railroad route ought to be searched for 
along the parallel of 38°39'. Information acquired from all sources led 
me to believe that this range of country was certainly practicable, and 
that the most important points on either ocean might be connected, 
by a line which should be direct, and at the same time penetrate the 
mountains through a region admirably adapted for setdement and 
cultivation. With this view I had embraced in my original plan of 
explorations, (and so stated in one of my published journals,) an ex- 
amination of the central section of the Rocky Mountains; compre- 
hending the Three Parks, with the numerous valleys which enclose 
the head waters of the South Platte, the Arkansas, and the Del Norte 
on the one side, and the sources of the East Fork of the Great Colo- 
rado on the other. 

Since 1847 my attention has been continuously occupied with this 
line, and with this section of the Rocky Mountains through which I 
have proposed that the great road should pass, entering the valley of 
the Colorado through the valley of the San Luis or Upper Del Norte. 
To this point my own examinations have been extended, with the sat- 
isfactory result of finding a way easy and good, through a broad and 
fertile country, allowing straight roads and choice of lines with contin- 
uous and expanded settlements. Such a line seems to comprehend all 


the advantages which ought to be combined in a trunk road to the 
Pacific. It is direct, central, and feasible of construction; it commands 
the most practicable pass, and best known route for a branch road 
into Oregon, and would be the means of forming a new and great 
state of this Union — the Switzerland of America. 

With these views I attempted, but was prevented from exploring it 
m 1847. In 1848 I resumed the attempt in an expedition which was 
defeated in its complete result; but was successful so far as it went, 
and completely successful so far as it realized my own idea. 

About this time finding myself owner of a property which prom- 
ised to be of extraordinary value, I conceived the idea of wholly devot- 
ing it, as far as it would go, to the prosecution of the work; and on my 
return to Washington in 1850, I communicated it to Mr. Francis P. 
Blair and other friends, who highly approved of my plan, and through 
whom, without design on my part, it reached the public press. 

In the fulfillment of this plan I visited England with the expecta- 
tion of engaging foreign capital in the development of the property, so 
as to make it available to the enterprise. Protracted delays and diffi- 
culties growing out of the contest for my property with the govern- 
ment, blunted or paralyzed my efforts, and I had succeeded only to a 
limited extent, when information of the general movement at home 
in favor of the railroad reached me. I immediately arranged my affairs 
for an absence of six or eight months, provided the necessary instru- 
ments, and started for Washington. On my arrival I found the [U. 
States] exploring parties were fully organized, and the Government 
commands already disposed of. Finding myself prepared with time 
and instruments, and fairly engaged in the enterprise, which properly 
formed a continuation of my own plans, I have decided to carry it out 
by my private means. The property above referred to had diminished 
in value from the litigation of the United States; much of its absolute 
and immediately available wealth had been carried away, but it had 
become better defined, and I had recendy received in England an of- 
fer of two millions [of dollars?] for half, dependent upon recognition 
of tide. This realization of the property has been again subjected to 
indefinite delay by the recent appeal of the Government from their 
own tribunal, but I have decided to invest it, whenever it becomes 
available, in that part of the road which shall go through the state of 
California from San Francisco to its western frontier, at whatever 
point the road from the East should strike it. 

Under this deprivation of resources, I can only go on with one 


branch of my intended enterprise, that of completing my examina- 
tions of the country between the Upper Del Norte and the valley of 
the San Joaquin. Upon this line I propose to make a double examina- 
tion — going out before the snows fall, and returning in mid-winter. 
A winter exploration, in making me acquainted with the depth and 
prevalence of the snows, and the extent of their impediments to win- 
ter traveling, would enable me to judge practically of some points very 
material to the right decision of the question. 

The field of operations reaches over an expanse of mountain wil- 
derness extending the whole length of our domain from north to 
south. In view of the enduring and unchangeable character of the 
work, no line can be considered approximately determined until all 
possible information should have been obtained, so that the best route, 
under every aspect for the country, may be adopted. To meet the ac- 
tions of the next Congress, will give ample employment to all the la- 
bor that can be brought to it, and my examinations therefore must 
necessarily contribute to the mass of materials for the solution of the 
question. Whatever may be the results at which I arrive, they shall be 
fairly communicated to the public, as an element in aid of their 

Finally, and above every other consideration, I have a natural desire 
to do something in the finishing up of a great work in which I had 
been so long engaged. I do it with the object and the hope of adding 
to the favorable considerations which (I may be permitted to say) have 
recognized the disposition I had already shown to serve the country. 
A deference to this favorable opinion, which I should regret by any 
act to impair, makes the occasion for the present letter. I felt that some 
explanation was due to the public for taking part as a private individ- 
ual in this public concern, and was unwilling to leave the motives of 
the present journey exposed to misconstructions. I judged therefore 
that a clear statement of them would not be considered improper or 
uncalled for. 

Printed in the American Journal of Science and Arts, 2nd ser., 17 (May 1854): 
447-49. Before the arrival of Almon W. Babbitt in Washington with news of 
JCF s travels as far as Parowan, Benton had sent the litde article, which was an 
extract from a longer paper, to James D. Dana with the request that it be pub- 
lished. He also supplied the information that the more lengthy paper had been 
prepared by JCF before he set out on his fifth expedition, "but for particular 
reasons it was not printed at that time." It had been addressed to a gentleman, 
but Benton would not divulge the name {ibid., and James D. Dana to Benton, 30 
March 1854, PPAN). 


259. Fremont to Theodore Bacon 

Washington City, D.C. 
August 6th. 1853 

Dear Sir, 

Your note of the 19th inst. has been received — In reply I regret to 
say that the expedition which you desire to accompany will be carried 
out by such slight means as to render it impossible for me to comply 
with your desire which otherwise it would afford me pleasure to do. 
Respectfully yours, 

J. C. Fremont 
Theodore Bacon Esqre. 
New Haven, Conn. 

ALS-JBF (James S. Copley Collection, La Jolla, Calif.). Endorsed: "Received 
August 20th." Born in 1834, Theodore Bacon was the son of Dr. Leonard Bacon, 
pastor for forty-one years of the First Church in New Haven and later a teacher 
in Yale's Divinity School. Young Bacon became an attorney in Rochester, N.Y. 
See his letters to Robert A. Brock (CSmH). 

260. Fremont's Agreement with 
Delaware Hunters 

Westport, Mo., September 16, 1853 

I have this day made an agreement through Jim Secondi' by which 
ten Delaware hunters, good men, are to accompany me on my jour- 
ney to California and back to this country. The ten Delawares are to 
furnish their own animals, and are each to be paid $2 per day. They 
are to provide themselves with good animals, and if any of their ani- 
mals should die upon the road I am to pay them for the loss. 

They will of course be furnished by me with ammunition, and the 
saddles which are furnished are at my own cost. 

John C. Fremont 

Printed in "Message of the President of the U.S. communicating claims pre- 
sented by and allowed to John C. Fremont," Senate Ex. Doc. 109, 34th Cong., 1st 


sess., pp. 37-38, Serial 825. JCF seems not to have met, at least in full, his obli- 
gations to the Indians. A Delaware delegation headed by James Secondi or 
Saghundai (George W. Manypenny writes "Sagondyne") pressed their claims 
upon the Indian Commissioner in 1854 and again in 1856 {ibid.). Allegedly they 
were still unpaid in 1886, and George Washington, one of the Delawares on the 
expedition, claimed that he had "a copy of a statement bearing the signatures of 
the ten Delawares, detailing the amount due each for the work and loss of ani- 
mals" (Memorial of the Delaware Indians, Senate Doc. 16, 58th Cong., 1st sess., 
pp. 159-60, Serial 4563). 

1. Secondi had been with JCF on the 1845-46 expedition but did not go on 
the Fifth. The names of the Delawares are given in Doc. No. 261, n. 2. 

261. With Fremont: Solomon Nunes 

Carvalho s Account of the Fifth Expedition, 

22 Aug.-25 Oct. 1853 

Chapter I 

On the 22d August, 1853, after a short interview' with Col. J. C. 
Fremont, I accepted his invitation to accompany him as artist of an 
Exploring Expedition across the Rocky Mountains. A half hour previ- 
ously, if anybody had suggested to me, the probability of my under- 
taking an overland journey to California, even over the emigrant 
route, I should have replied there were no inducements sufficiendy 
powerful to have tempted me. Yet, in this instance, I impulsively, 
without even a consultation with my family, passed my word to join 
an exploring party, under command of Col. Fremont, over a hitherto 
untrodden country, in an elevated region, with the full expectation of 
being exposed to all the inclemencies of an arctic winter. I know of no 
other man to whom I would have trusted my life, under similar 

Col. Fremont's former extraordinary explorations, his astronomical 
and geographical contributions to the useful sciences, and his success- 
ful pursuit of them under difficulties, had deeply interested me, and 
aided in forming for him, in my mind, the beau ideal of all that was 
chivalrous and noble. 

His conquest of California, appointment as Governor by Com- 
modore Stockton, the jealousy and persecution by General Kearney 
for not acknowledging him instead of Commodore Stockton as 


Solomon Nunes Carvalho. Courtesy of 
the Library of Congress. 


commander-in-chief, his court-martial and subsequent finding of the 
court, are matters of American history, and they reflect no dishonor 
on the individual who was a distinguished example of the ingratitude 
of republics. 

The recognition of his claims on the American public by the citi- 
zens of Charleston, S.C, who presented him with an elegant sword 
and golden scabbard, satisfied me that I had formed no incorrect esti- 
mate of his character, and made me feel an instinctive pride that I, 
too, drew my first breath on the same soil that gave birth to heroes 
and statesmen. 

Entertaining these feelings, the dangers and perils of the journey, 
which Col. Fremont pointed out to me, were entirely obscured by the 
pleasure I anticipated in accompanying him, and adding my limited 
skill to facilitate him in the realization of one of the objects of the 
expedition — which was to obtain an exact description of the face ot 
the country over which we were to travel. 

The party consisted of twenty-two persons: among them were ten 
Delaware chiefs;" and two Mexicans.' The officers were: Mr. Egloff- 
stien,^ topographical engineer; Mr. Strobel, assistant;^ Mr. Oliver Fuller, 
assistant engineer;'' Mr. S. N. Carvalho, artist and daguerrotypist; Mr. 
W. H. Palmer, passenger.^ 

The expedition was fitted out, I think, at the individual expense of 
Col. Fremont. 

Chapter II 

The preparations for my journey occupied about ten days, during 
which time I purchased all the necessary materials for making a pan- 
orama of the country, by daguerreotype process, over which we had 
to pass. 

To make daguerreotypes in the open air, in a temperature varying 
from freezing point to thirty degrees below zero, requires different 
manipulation from the processes by which pictures are made in a 
warm room. My professional friends were all of the opinion that the 
elements would be against my success. Buffing and coating plates, and 
mercurializing them, on the summit of the Rocky Mountains, stand- 
ing at times up to one's middle in snow, with no covering above save 
the arched vault of heaven, seemed to our city friends one of the im- 
possibilities — knowing as they did that iodine will not give out its 
fumes except at a temperature of 70° to 80° Fahrenheit. I shall not 


appear egotistical if I say that I encountered many difficulties, but I 
was well prepared to meet them by having previously acquired a sci- 
entific and practical knowledge of the chemicals I used, as well as of 
the theory of light: a firm determination to succeed also aided me in 
producing results which, to my knowledge, have never been accom- 
plished under similar circumstances. 

While suffering from frozen feet and hands, without food for 
twenty-four hours, travelling on foot over mountains of snow, I have 
stopped on the trail, made pictures of the country, re-packed my ma- 
terials, and found myself frequently with my friend Egloffstien, who 
generally remained with me to make barometrical observations, and a 
muleteer, some five or six miles behind camp, which was only reached 
with great expense of bodily as well as mental suffering. The great 
secret, however, of my untiring perseverance and continued success, 
was that my honor was pledged to Col. Fremont to perform certain 
duties, and I would rather have died than not have redeemed it. I 
made pictures up to the very day Col. Fremont found it necessary to 
bury the whole baggage of the camp, including the daguerreotype ap- 
paratus. He has since told me that my success, under the frequent 
occurrence of what he considered almost insuperable difficulties, mer- 
ited his unqualified approbation. 

I left New York on the 5th September, 1853, having in charge the 
daguerreotype apparatus, painting materials, and half a dozen cases of 
Alden's preserved coffee, eggs, cocoa, cream, and milk, which he sent 
out for the purpose of testing their qualities." There was in them suffi- 
cient nourishment to have sustained twenty men for a month. I pur- 
chased a ticket by the Illinois River to St. Louis, but the water was so 
low in the river that it was deemed advisable to cross over to Alton 
by stage, as I was afraid of being detained. The cases of instruments 
were very heavy, and the proprietor of the stage refused to take them; 
it being night, I remonstrated with him, telling him of the importance 
that they should arrive at St. Louis; he peremptorily refused to take 
them. I, of course, had to succumb, and remarked inadvertendy how 
disappointed Col. Fremont would be in not receiving them. At the 
mention of Col. Fremont's name, he asked me if those cases were Fre- 
mont's? I told him, yes. He sang out for his boy to harness up an extra 
team of horses, and stow away the boxes. "I will put them through for 
Fremont, without a cent expense. I was with him on one of his expe- 
ditions, and a nobler specimen of mankind does not live about these 


parts." I was put through in good time, but he would not receive a 
cent for my passage, or freight of the boxes, which together would 
have amounted to eight dollars. 

I arrived at St. Louis at twelve o'clock. Col. Fremont was at Col. 
Brants house, where I immediately called. The Colonel was very glad 
to see me; he had telegraphed several times, and I had been anxiously 
expected. We left that same afternoon in the steamer E X. Aubrey, for 
Kansas.** On board, I found Mr. Egloffstien, the topographical engi- 
neer, Mr. Oliver Fuller, and Mr. Bomar,'" the photographist. Our 
journey was somewhat protracted by the shallowness of the water in 
the river, and we did not arrive at Kansas until the 14th. 

Chapter III 

When we landed, we met Mr. Palmer and several of the men who 
were to accompany the Expedition as muleteers, etc. The equipage of 
the camp that had been previously shipped from St. Louis, had ar- 
rived safely. As soon as our baggage was landed, it, together with the 
rest of the material, was transported by wagons to camp near West- 
port, a few miles in the interior. 

Our tents were raised, and active preparation for our journey was 
immediately commenced. Several droves ot mules came in next day 
from which Col. Fremont selected a few. Very near two prices were 
exacted by the owners; it being necessary that we should proceed 
without delay, we were obliged to submit to extortion. 

Mr. Egloffstien, Mr. Bomar and myself, found comfortable quar- 
ters at a hotel where we put up, in order to be ready for the journey, 
our various apparatus. 

Mr. Bomar, proposed to make photographs by the wax process, 
and several days were consumed in preparing the paper, etc. I was 
convinced that photographs could not be made by that process as 
quickly as the occasion required, and told Col. Fremont to have one 
made from the window of our room, to find out exactly the time. The 
preparation not being entirely completed, a picture could not be made 
that day; but on the next, when we were all in camp. Col. Fremont 
requested that daguerreotypes and photographs should be made. In 
half an hour from the time the word was given, my daguerreotype 
was made; but the photograph could not be seen until next day, as it 
had to remain in water all night, which was absolutely necessary to 


develop it. Query, where was water to be had on the mountains, with 
a temperature of 20° below zero? To be certain of a result, even if 
water would be procured, it was necessary by his process, to wait 
twelve hours, consequently, every time a picture was to be made, the 
camp must be delayed twelve hours. Col. Fremont finding that he 
could not see immediate impressions, concluded not to incur the trou- 
ble and expense of transporting the apparatus, left it at Westport, to- 
gether with the photographer. The whole dependence was now on 
me. Col. Fremont told me if I had the slightest doubts of succeeding, 
it were better to say so now, and he would cancel the agreement on 
my part, and pay me for my time, etc. 

On the night of the 20th, all hands slept in camp, a heavy rain- 
storm drenched us completely, giving to the party an introduction to a 
life on the prairies. The necessity of India-rubber blankets became 
evident, and I was dispatched to Westport to procure them. There 
were none to be had. I sent a man to Independence to purchase two 
dozen; he travelled thirty miles that night, and by ten next morning I 
had them in camp. They were the most useful articles we had with 
us; we placed the India-rubber side on the snow, our buffalo robes on 
the top of that for a bed, and covered with our blankets, with an 
India-rubber blanket over the whole — India-rubber side up, to turn 
the rain. We generally slept double, which added to our comfort, as 
we communicated warmth to each other, and had the advantage of 
two sets of coverings. During the whole journey, exposed to the most 
furious snow-storms, I never slept cold, although when I have been 
called for guard I often found some difficulty in rising from the 
weight of the snow resting on me. 

The distribution of arms and ammunition to the men occupied a 
portion of the next day. Each person had a rifle and Colt's revolver. 
Some of the Delawares had horseman's pistols also." The messenger 
Col. Fremont sent to the Delaware camp returned, with a number of 
braves, some of whom had accompanied Col. Fremont on a former 
expedition — he selected ten, among whom was a chief named Sol- 
omon, who had been with him before, and for whom Col. Fremont 
felt a great friendship. They were entertained with dinner, and after a 
smoke, each had a small quantity of the brandy we brought for me- 
dicinal purposes. They left us, to make preparations for the expedi- 
tion, and to join us near the Kansas River, about one hundred miles 


A most amusing scene, although attended with some pain to the 
animals, was enacted today; it was the process of branding them with 
a distinctive mark. We had an iron made with the letter F, which we 
used to designate ours from those belonging to others. 

A long rope with a noose and slip knot was fastened round the 
neck of the mule, the other round a tree; two men with another rope 
twisted it about its legs, when with a sudden jerk it was thrown to the 
ground; the red hot iron is now applied to the fleshy part of the hip — 
a terrible kicking and braying ensues, but it was always the sign that 
the work was done effectually. 

In California, the most beautiful and valuable saddle horses are 
branded with a large unseemly mark on some prominent part of the 
body or neck, which would in this locality depreciate the value of the 
animals. I selected an Indian pony for myself; he was recommended 
as being a first rate buffalo horse; that is to say, he was trained to hunt 
buffaloes. This animal was given into my own charge, and I only then 
began to realize that I had entered into duties which I was un- 
qualified to perform. I had never saddled a horse myself. My seden- 
tary employment in a city, never having required me to do such 
offices; and now I was to become my own ostler, and ride him to 
water twice a day, besides running after him on the prairie for an 
hour sometimes before I could catch him. This onerous duty I finally 
performed as well as my companions. But, dear reader, follow me to a 
camp on the mountains of snow, where I exchanged my horse for a 
mule, at daylight, with the thermometer 20° below zero. Do you see, 
far away on the hill-side, an animal moving slowly? That is my mule; 
he is searching among the deep snows for a bite of blighted grass or 
the top of some wild bush to break his fast on. How will you get him? 
I will go for him; watch me while I tramp through the frozen snow. 
My mule sees me, and knowing that my errand is to prepare him for 
his day's journey, without first giving him provender to enable him to 
perform it, prefers to eat his scanty breakfast first, and moves leisurely 
along; his lariat, about thirty feet in length, trails along the ground. I 
have reached it, and at the moment I think I have him securely, he 
dashes away at a full gallop, pulling me after him through the snow; 
perfectly exhausted, I loose my hold; my hands lacerated and almost 
frozen. I lie breathless on the icy carpet. I am now a mile from camp, 
and out of sight of my companions. I renew my exertions, and gently 
approach him; this time he stands quiet, and I gather the rope in my 


hand, and pat him for a few minutes, and then mount him bare 
backed. The life and activity he possessed a few moments before, is 
entirely gone; he stands like a mule in the snow, determined not to 
budge a step. I coax, I kick him. I use the other end of the rope over 
his head; he dodges the blow; but his fore-feet are immovably planted 
in the snow, as if they grew there. I, worn out, and almost frozen, 
remain chewing the cud of bitter reflection, until one of my comrades 
comes to seek and assist me; he goes behind the mule and gives him a 
slight touch a posteriori; when, awakening from his trance, he starts at 
a hard trot into camp, quietly submits to be saddled, and looks as 
pleasantly at me as if he were inquiring how I liked the exercise of 
catching him. Similar scenes occurred daily; if it were not with myself 
it was with another. "Stubborn as a mule," is an o'er true adage, as I 
can fully testify. 

A general examination of the equipage resulted in the knowledge 
that everything requisite for our journey, had been procured, and 
scales were in requisition to apportion the weight of luggage; 65 to 90 
lb. for each mule. The personal luggage of the men was restricted to a 
certain number of pounds — and all useless apparel, books etc., etc., 
were packed up and sent back to town. We intended to pack on 
mules all the way, and it was necessary to take as little as possible of 
what we did not absolutely require. 

A trial start was made, and the cavalcade started in excellent order 
and spirits, and we camped at the Methodist mission, about six miles 
from Westport. 

Chapter IV