The Message from Gillespie
IT is difficult to determine just how seriously Frémont turned his mind toward exploration again after leaving Sutter's Fort for the North. His letters and memoirs would indicate that his old zest in the blazing of fresh wilderness trails had reawakened; and to some extent, it undoubtedly did. But in the main his eyes were still fixed upon California; his purpose to remain within easy marching distance of it was apparently unaltered, and it is significant that he made no energetic effort to reach the posts upon the Columbia. His movements before he was so dramatically recalled to the California stage may be briefly dismissed.
The close of March, 11846, found his expedition at the wellknown ranch of Peter Lassen on Deer Creek, a tributary of the upper Sacramento, about two hundred miles from Sutter's Fort. Frémont formed a liking for Lassen, a Dane whose history was only less romantic than Sutter's, and who was a man of practical sense and courage. His wheat was yielding large returns, he was experimenting with cotton, and a vineyard had lately been set out. For almost a month, as if he were intent upon merely killing time, Frémont kept at or near the ranch. First his party rested and outfitted for six days; then they set off north up the Sacramento Valley, passing what Carson calls "Shasta Butte";1 then, finding the weather stormy, they turned back south, reaching Lassen's Ranch again on April 11th; and here they delayed for almost two weeks more. Why this marching and counter-marching? Perhaps Fré____________________