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Stock# 91279

“The destiny of the American people is to subdue the continent…to change darkness into light and confirm the destiny of the human race”

By the First Governor of the Colorado Territory.

Fascinating work espousing Manifest Destiny and the importance of the Plains to the future of the United States, published the year before its author, William Gilpin, was elected governor of the Colorado Territory.

This book extensively describes the geography and peoples of the American West, and includes a contemporaneous description of the Colorado gold rush. It also espouses the need for a transcontinental railroad.

William Gilpin first crossed the plains to Oregon in 1843 with the Fremont expedition. He later recalled that he had spent the Fourth of July of 1843 with Fremont at the place that later became Denver, Colorado. Gilpin remained involved with the Rocky Mountain West for the rest of of his life. - Wagner-Camp.


The six fine maps included in the work speak to the diverse economy and endless possibilities of the American West. They show how future American commerce will center around Independence Missouri and the Plains, and how this is supposedly predetermined by geography. Other maps focus on the ongoing gold rush in Colorado.

The maps include the following:

  1. Gilpin's Hydrographic Map of North America
  2. Hydrographic Map of the Mountain Formation of North America
  3. Map of the World Exhibiting the Isothermal Zone
  4. Map of the Gold and Silver Region of Pike's Peak Sierras San Juan and La Plata
  5. Map of the South Pass of North America
  6. Map of the Basin of the Mississippi

William Gilpin

William Gilpin was the first territorial governor of Colorado, an appointment he held from 1861 to his downfall in 1862 for issuing $375,000 drafted illegitimately on the US Treasury. He gained some popularity when this fund was used to rally Colorado troops, which defended the territory from a Confederate incursion, but his disorganization and poor financial troubles led to his removal. He became a land speculator in the West and a continued proponent of Manifest Destiny, which led to his publication of the present map.

Condition Description
Octavo. Publisher's blindstamped brown cloth with gilt lettering to spine. Six folding maps. Chip to head of spine, minor bumping, rehinged with minor restoration to spine. Large closed tear through title and page v.
Howes G192. Wagner-Camp 358. Graff 1556. Sabin 27468. Wheat, Transmississippi West 4; maps 1010, 1011, page 192.