"Important For Its . . . Tracing of the Mail Route of the Butterfield Stageline" (Carl Wheat)
Rare map of the United States, published to promote the overland stage and steamship routes proposed by Carlos Butterfield.
The map was issued in the second edition of Butterfield's rare United States and Mexico. Commerce, Trade, and Postal Facilities Between the Two Countries. Statistics of Mexico. By Carlos Butterfield. The second edition introduces a new map, which is focused on the railroad and mail routes across the continent.
The map illustrates the existing overland stage/mail routes across the United States and a number of proposed lines for the transcontinental railroad, including several earliest existing railroad routes in the west. The map includes a table of distances of mail steamships and a second table of distances to major trading ports around the world.
Arizona is shown (but not named) below New Mexico and an early version of Dakota Territory is marked, but not named.
Carlos Butterfield was an early advocate of the creation of regular a regular steamship and mail service between the United States (either New Orleans or Mobile) and the various major Mexican ports in the Gulf of Mexico. Butterfield published a promotional tract for his project, which was widely disseminated immediately prior to the Civil War. As noted by Olliff:
Of the many Americans active in Mexico, Carlos Butterfield was the most notable for the duration, range, and intensity of his involvement. Butterfield’s activities in Mexico can be traced back to at least 1845 and he was still engaged as late as 1869. In addition to the Gulf mail steamer service mentioned earlier, his activities included service in the Mexican army, diplomatic agent for various conservative and liberal Mexican governments, diplomatic courier for the United States, arms agent for various Mexican regimes, purchaser of church property, loan agent and propagandist for the Juárez government, and the most prolific and insistent proponent of vigorous American economic expansion in Latin America. In addition to his Mexican activities, Butterfield appears to have been involved in Cuba and Venezuela, and at his death in 1880 his estate included a pending claim against the Danish government for over $1 million for unspecified damages suffered in the Danish West Indies.... Although he sprang from the same geographic area as John Butterfield, founder of the Butterfield Stage Lines and American Express, there is no evidence available to indicate whether there was any kinship. He was a graduate of a military academy but there is no record that he attended West Point or ever served in the American army.