The Baldwin Library
_ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ r^ c 1 --rr--ap---
YOUNG FOLKS' LIBRARY OF AMERICAN HISTORY,
THE GREAT WEST.
BY MARA L. PRATT, M. D.
'EDUCATIONAL PUBLISHING COMPANY,
BY EDUCATIONAL PUBLISHING COMPANY,
b Alareon 4
'7Nl ---- + 1
ENGLISH in Capital letters
Frenob. in Roman
Spanish io n Italo cbi4'. J51
A h -
B- S..-- J 140
THE GREAT WEST.
P EOPLE who never travel away from their own homes
are very apt, we are told, to think of their village,
their town, their city, as the one great and important
spot upon this earth.
In these days of books and newspapers, one does not grow
quite so narrow-minded as that, I think, even if he does
"forever stay at home." Still, we need to be wide awake
and generous, quick to see, and willing to hear, or we might
wake up some day, and, like old Rip Van Winkle, find a
world grown up around us of which we had not dreamed.
It is, of course, a grand thing to be loyal to one's own
state ; to love it a little better than any other state; and to
always "stand up" for it, and never allow it to be slandered
in one's presence.
THE GREAT WEST.
Did you ever hear of the Michigan boy who, after listening
for an hour or more to the boasting of a Massachusetts boy,
said, Now you just let up, you young Yankee. I'd just like
you to understand that we've got ponds out our way that are
big enough to float the whole state of Massachusetts, and
leave room round the edges for all the states about her."
The Michigan boy was not quite elegant in his language,
perhaps, but he had the right spirit; and we can excuse
language, sometimes, when the spirit is right.
I once heard a Boston boy-a little fellow in knicker-
bockers fly up in defense of his city, much to the amuse-
ment of his New York uncle, who had been bothering him
about the narrow, crooked streets. "I don't care if the
streets are narrow; and I do n't care if they are crooked.
Didn't our men fight in 'em? an' did n't they lick the
But in being proud of our own part of the world, we need
not fancy that other parts have not just as much of beauty,
just as much of usefulness,-that there are not just as noble
men and women, just as bright, wide-awake boys and girls
as there are in our own.
Now, there is the "Great West," as our geographies call
it. Let us take a journey out through that country and see
THE GREAT WEST. 7
if it is great; and, if it is, then in what respect it is
great. We eastern people, as we delight to call ourselves,
are so apt to pride ourselves on our "first settlements," our
"early history," and our "brave forefathers," that we some-
times forget that over toward the setting sun is a great,
broad, beautiful Wonderland.
New England is a little older, to be sure; that is, it was
settled a little earlier. But what of that! If Europe
had happened to be on the Pacific instead of on the
Atlantic coast, then California would have been settled first;
and New England,- well, who knows ? There might never
have been any New England. I am afraid that if those old
Puritans, sturdy and hardy as they were, had landed upon
the beautiful, sunny shores of California, and had breathed in
the warm, fruit-laden air, they would have been quite con-
tent to settle there, caring nothing at all for our wonderful
So let us leave our brave old state, dear as she is, and like
broad, generous readers, journey into this Western Wonder-
THE MOUND BUILDERS.
F the people who lived in this country before white men
came had only left some written history, there would
have been a record of the Great West as wonderful and
as grand as any records of early Europe or Asia.
That the country was settled hundreds and hundreds of
years before white men came, is proved in many ways.
Vases and ornaments, axes and knives, have been found
far down in the earth, beneath trees which must of them-
selves be hundreds of years old.
We do not know who these early people were, where they
came from, or what language they spoke. But we do know
that, whoever they were, they were industrious and skillful,
and that they left behind them wonderful works.
The mounds these people left are, perhaps, the most won-
derful. It is because so many of these mounds are to be
seen through the West, that the people who built them have
been called "The Mound Builders." One of the oddest of
these mounds is to be seen in Adams County, Ohio.
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It is built in the shape of a great snake, thousands of feet
long. You can plainly trace the head, the long body,--if, in-
deed, you can speak of a snake's body, and the tail, which
is coiled like a sailor's coil of rope.
In the mouth of this snake is an egg-shaped mound, which
is, of itself, one hundred and sixty feet long.
Sometimes these mounds are in the shape of animals,
sometimes they are in the shape of men; sometimes there are
many little round mounds at equal distances apart; some-
times there are many long, straight ones arranged in a line,
or placed side by side. There are some very high mounds,
with steps cut in The sides reaching to the top; some have
chambers within them; some seem to have been used for
great fires. Often they are made of brick, or of stone, which
proves that these mysterious people must have known some-
thing about machinery, and such things as civilized people
know about to-day.
Many of these mounds are in perfect squares, or circles, or
ellipses; and from that we learn that they must have known
of form, and must have had ways of measuring and reck-
These mounds are found here and there up and down the
Mississippi; and in Ohio alone there are hundreds of them.
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These people knew about mining, too; for, near Lake
Superior, in one mine there is a great mass of copper weigh-
ing nearly six tons. They must have had some kind of
powerful machinery in these mines, for this mass of copper
is raised from the bottom of the mine and is supported on
Who could these people have been? Were they the great-
great-great-grandparents of the present American Indians?
It hardly seems likely; for they and the present Indians are
so very different. Excepting one particular tribe living in
New Mexico, the Indians are all very wild and ignorant,
showing no such skill and industry as these early people
It seems, now, as if it would remain forever a mystery who
these people could have been.
T. W. Higginson, who wrote the charming Young Folks'
History of the limited States, says of them :-
"They may have come from Asia, or have been the de-
scendants of Asiatics accidentally cast on the American
shore. Within the last hundred years, no less than fifteen
Japanese vessels have been driven across the Pacific Ocean
by storms, and wrecked on the Pacific coast of North
America; and this may have happened as easily a thousand
12 THE GREAT WEST.
years ago as a hundred. It is certain that some men among
the Mound-Builders had reached the sea in their travels;
for on some of their carved pipes there are representations
of the seal, and of the manati, or sea-cow, -animals which
they could only have seen by traveling very far east or west,
or else by descending the Mississippi to its mouth. We
know neither whence they came nor whither they went.
Very few human bones have been found; and those had
nearly crumbled to dust. We only know that the Mound-
Builders came, built wonderful works, and then made way
for another race, of whose origin we know almost as little
as we do of these."
WHILE some discoverers were searching up and down
the Atlantic coast, others were pushing on into the
Great West, as we now call it, -some for the
pleasure of discovery, others for trade. There they found,
as they had on the coasts, tribes of copper-colored people,
living in wigwams, and busying themselves with- hunting
The copper-colored people had high cheek-bones, small,
shining, black eyes, and coarse, straight, black hair. They
called themselves by all sorts of odd names; indeed, their
whole language seemed odd enough to the white men. They
had no written iiua.i.e except their picture writing, so that
it was very hard work to learn to talk with them. There
being no books, the white man could only remember the
words they gave him, as well as he could by sound. Some-
times these words, because of the faulty memory of the
white man, became very much perverted, so much so that
I doubt if the Indians themselves would have recognized
THE GREAT WEST.
them. For example, one point of land on the southern
shore of Lake Superior, which the Indians called Sha-ga-
waum-ic-ong, has had its name so made over in the course
of years that it now stands as Chequamegon. Would the
Indians of those times of discovery recognize that name
now, do you think, if they heard it ?
It is said that among the Algonquin Indians, there were in
their language no sounds of f, 1, q, r, v, x, or z, so that any
word claimed as an Indian word, having in it any of those
sounds, is surely not an Algonquin word, and very likely not
a true Indian word at all. For example, Minwaukie, when it
came to be used by the French, whose language is so full of
the smooth, liquid sound of 1, was very soon changed into
I hardly think you would care to learn the Indian language,
but let us take just one lesson in it. I 'm sure 'you will be
amused to learn what the names of s':me ~ "i our states, and
rivers, and lakes mean in real Indian language.
But before we do that, I want, just here, before it slips my
mind, to speak of the pretty way these Indians had in nam-
ing their babies. These Indians did not know very much,
judging their education from the things we are so proud to
know to-day; but they had many beautiful and fanciful
THE GREAT WEST.
notions in their heads after all. They loved their forests and
the beautiful flowers; they loved the warm sun and the
beautiful pale moon; they dreamed of a heaven of rest away
off in the great, blue sky; they spoke tenderly of the bright
land of the "setting sun"; and they were ready always to
see the Good Spirit in the gentle breezes and in the smiling
But the baby names! No Baby Mays or Baby Beths,
perhaps; but other names quite as dear, no doubt, to the
babies' mothers and fathers.
When the baby had reached a certain age, he was taken
from the wigwam and carried out into the open country.
The first object which seemed to attract the baby's
notice gave to him its name. Very carefully did the parent
watch the baby's face, for there was a belief that the name
would some way influence the baby's future. So we find
among these Indians, names like Big Turtle, Great Wolf,
and Laughing Water.
The names of their towns, and the names of the rivers and
mountains had meanings, too. Here are a few of these
names, many of which, I am sure, are very familiar words
JARKANSAW, a town in Wisconsin. Named from a
tribe of Indians who made a very superior sort of
bows for shooting. Hence they were called "arc
kansas," or, in our language, "bow Indians."
ANAMAKEE, a county in Iowa. The Indian word for
ANOKA, a town in Minnesota; meaning a "busy place."
ANAMOSA, a town in Iowa; from the Indian word Anamosh,
meaning a dog.
CHEBANSE, a town in Illinois; meaning Little Duck.
Named in honor of an Indian chief of that name.
ISHPEMING, a town in Michigan; meaning High-above-
KICKAPOO, a town in Illinois; meaning "the ghost of
KOKOMO, a town in Indiana; meaning "wise like an owV"
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MANITOBA, a lake of the Northwest; meaning "Spirit-
MANITO, a town of Illinois; the Indian name for the
"Great Spirit," or God.
MINNEHAIA, a water-fall in Minnesota; meaning Laugh-
MILWAUKEE, a town of Wisconsin ; meaning "good earth."
MISIPPI (Mississippi) means "Father of Waters."
NOKOMIS, a town in Illinois; meaning "grandmother."
OHIO, meaning "how beautiful."
YANKTON, a town in Dakota; meaning People of the
WISCONSIN, meaning "strong current."
These are very few of our geographical Indian names; but
perhaps they are all you will care to hear about at one time.
Now that you find these names do have some meaning, why
not, as you come upon new ones in your study of geography,
try to learn their meanings and why they were given ? Very
often there is an odd little legend connected with the name
of a town or state that would help you to remember it for-
INDIAN LEGEND OF THE BEAR.
WE are apt to think of the Indian of these times as a
mere savage animal given only to eating, drinking,
hunting, fishing, fighting, and scalping.
Very true: this was, perhaps, what they seemed always to
be doing; and it is altogether likely the white man found it
quite all he could do to keep out of the way of their arrows
and tomahawks, and so had little time, and less desire, to look
very closely into their lives to see what might be there.
The Jesuits, who went among them to live, and who
studied into their history and their legends, learned that,
savage as they were, they were not without ideas of the
good and the beautiful, of justice and honor, -ideas that are
by no means to be scorned.
Their legends of animals show more than any others,
perhaps, the Indian's idea of character.
An Indian chief once shot a huge bear, breaking its back.
The animal fell, setting up a most plaintive cry. The chief
then approached the bear and said, "Hark ye bear. You are
THE GREAT WEST. 1I
a coward You are not the warrior you claim to be If you
were, you would now show it by your firmness. You would
not lie there crying and whimpering like a pappoose. You
know, 0 bear, that your tribe and mine are deadly enemies.
You know, too, that the Indians are too powerful for you.
You dare not come out and meet us. You go sneaking and
stealing about in the night time, stealing from us. Had you
conquered me, I would have died like a brave warrior. An
Indian never whimpers. t"
"But how could the bear understand the warrior? asked
' "Indeed he could," answered the Indian, "the bear under-
stood very well. Had you seen him, you would have noticed
how ashamed he looked."
A PUEBLO RESTORED.
IN 1846, Col. A. W. Doniphan marched into the territory
of New Mexico. Imagine his surprise to find living
there a tribe of Indians wholly unlike any before seen
in this country.
.Instead of wigwams, these Indians had great stone houses,
some of them six stories high.
There were about ten thousand of these people living in
settlements, or towns, of about a thousand each. Thf'y
claimed to have descended from those races who were living
in Mexico at the time of the Conquest." They certainly
did have many customs like the Indians of that time as
described by Cortez.
These "pueblos," or houses, are built of stone, and look
very much like great forts. They have no doors or stair-
cases, but are entered by means of ladders set up against
the building. These being drawn up at night, the people
within are free from all attacks.
These stories are arranged something like steps, so that
THE GREAT WEST.
the top of one story makes a sort of balcony for the people
living in the story above.
In each of these buildings is an underground place in
which the "sacred fires" are kept burning. These fires
have been kept burning for hundreds of years. If we never
allow the sacred fire to be lost," say these Zufiis, "and if we
keep it ever hidden from the sight of the white man, then some
day our great chief will come for us, and we shall all return
to our old home in the south from which we once were so
These Indians are Sun-worshippers; and often they may be
seen sitting upon the roofs of their houses, watching for the
rising of the sun. "The sun," they say, "is the golden
chariot which sometime will bring our chief to take us back
to our southern home."
The Zufiis, one group of these house-building Indians, are
a gentle, peace-loving people, living simply and honestly in
their homes, waiting, waiting, waiting for their old chief, hop-
ing always that with the next appearing of the fire-chariot he
may come to them.
Wi HEN this great continent of North America was
discovered, and it began to be really understood
how large it was, how rich, and how varied in it
: productions, thinking men began to say, "What, indeed, is
going to be the effect of this wonderful discovery upon
SEurope, its trade and its people ?"
Then each of the three nations that had sent out its ships
began to contend over the ownership of it.
"It shall be mine," said Spain, "because our ships carried
"It shall be mine," said Portugal.
It shall be mine," said England.
But England was not yet the proud monarch of the sea.
Spain then held that honor. Her royal standard floated
Ii :Ln 11.i ide over the broad seas. Columbus had carried it
c'.-, t-: t he shores of Mexico; but meantime Diaz, a Portu-
u.'-: ..riner, has sailed around Cape Good Hope.
\V.r'i.,.l.irl voyages were these for the times and the frail
sii:i then built.
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And now Spain and Portugal agree to divide between
themselves all the unknown lands and seas east and west of
a certain line drawn not far from the Azores, from the
North Pole to the South Pole.
By this, you see, they planned to cut off from this New
World every other nation. Spain, from the very beginning,
had the advantage. Columbus had taken possession in her
name of those islands which guarded the entrance to the
Gulf of Mexico, which is a sort of watery door-yard to
the great new house. You may be sure she was wise
enough to make these places strongly fortified, and to keep
a sharp lookout that no English or Portuguese ships should
get into this door-yard.
Spain now arose suddenly to an importance in the world of
which she had never dreamed. Europe looked on in amaze-
ment to see the grand conquests Spain was making, while
Portugal and England stood back and gazed, awe-struck. It
was the old story of the big boy and the admiring little boys
over again. And how these little boys longed to get just a
finger in this great, rich pie But the big boy said, "Touch
it if you dare !" And the little boys did n't dare.
But by and by Francis I., king of France, said, "Pray tell
me, where did you get your right, great neighbor mine,, to
THE GREAT WEST.
claim this new world as yours? Did old Father Adam leave
a will in which he gave to Spain this great, new, island-
And Spain only growled, "Keep away! keep away We 'll
fight! we '11 fight! "
"Fight then," said France, "and we '11 fight, too !" And so
the two great armies of France and Spain met at Pavia and
fought. It was a hard, fierce battle, and in it the French
were so badly defeated that Francis I.,'when the battle was
over, wrote to his mother one brief sentence, which has since
come to be a familiar phrase "Madam, all is lost except
Spain was now greater than ever. Other nations, inspired
by her success, began to reach out, little by little, taking
good care, however, always to keep a most respectful dis-
tance from any playground which she might care to possess.
I am greatly tempted to stop here and tell you about the
conquest of Mexico by one of Spain's great explorers Cor-
tez. It is like a grand, good novel to hear of his wonderful
adventures and his wonderful discoveries. You must read
all about it sometime, about the great king Montezuma and
his wonderful city. Cortez may have been a great explorer,
and a daring one, but he was a cruel man; and his treatment
26 THE GREAT WEST.
of the noble Montezuma and his people is one of the saddest
stories in early American history. Because he was so need-
lessly cruel, I have never cared very much that, after he re-
turned to Spain to lay his great discoveries at the royal feet,
the king scornfully asked, "Who is this man? We will be
just, however, and remember the daring reply Cortez made
to this insulting question of the king : I am the man," said
he, "who has gained Your Majesty more provinces than your
father left you towns."
INDIAN STORY OF THE SEASONS.
,lI.I man was sitting in his wigwam, by the side of a
r.-.ein stream. It was the close of winter, and his
was almost out. He appeared very old and lone-
.. ii, hair was white with age, and he trembled and
"--lii., ..l i:- he walked. Day after day was passed in soli-
ti.lI.:, n.i.i r- sound heard he except the loud winds sweeping
.. -,i.: t-i. ght new snow.
i- .I. .as his fire was dying out, a handsome youth ap-
i:'!*...'' :.'-i ad entered the wigwam of the old chief. His
c I-l. ::l.: .I'.- red, his eyes danced, and a smile played upon
hi- lip: I-lis step was light and quick.
r 'r I'i- forehead was a garland of sweet grass, and in his
b:iii..l ', .: fIragrant flowers.
i .-\1. ,i son," said the lone chief, "come in. I rejoice to
s*:: ,..i 1 ome, tell me of your travels, of the strange lands
i r1!_. .urih entered, and the old man, after making his guest
.c',l'L.i I. lb-, began to speak:-
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"I breathe forth, and the streams stand still; the waters
harden as crystal stone."
"I breathe," said the youth, "and the flowers, and grasses,
and ferns spring forth on hill and plain."
"I shake my long hair," said the old man, "and snow
covers the land; the leaves fall from the trees and my breath
blows them away. The animals hide from me, and the
ground itself grows cold."
"I shake my ringlets," said the young man, "and warm
showers fall upon the earth, and the soft dews are like the
glistening eyes of children. At the sound of my voice, the
birds come back; at the warmth of my breath, the streams
leap forth; music is in the groves wherever I walk, and the
whole earth is filled with joy."
All night long they talked. At length the sun began to
rise, and a gentle warmth came over the place. The old
man grew silent. The birds began to sing in the trees
about the wigwam; the stream began to murmur, and the
fragrance of the flowers came in at the door.
And now, as the youth looked upon his host, he saw the
streams begin to flow from his eyes. As the sun rose
higher and higher, the old man grew less and less in stature,
and at last was melted quite away, and nothing was left
THE GREAT WEST. 29
upon the hearth but the Miskodeed, a small white flower with
a pink border, that even now always comes when the winter
DISCOVERY OF THE MISSISSIPPI.
ON the very first maps the Spaniards drew of the Gulf
of Mexico and its surrounding country, they located
the entrance of this great river. They had little idea,
however, that the muddy waters flowing into the gulf were
the waters of a river so long and so large that the Indians
themselves had given it the name of Mississippi, meaning
"Father of Waters."
The Spaniards gave it, for some reason, the name of The
River of the Holy Ghost," noted it on their maps, and sailed
on, little suspecting how great an opportunity they had lost
for going into the very heart of the new continent.
It was, therefore, to De Soto that the real discovery of
this river is due. .In 1539, with six hundred men, he set sail
from Havana, determined to make an exploration of the in-
terior of this land bordering the gulf.
When Cortez started inland to Mexico, he burned his ships
that his men might understand that, let come what might,
there was no hope of escape for them.
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De Soto, though equally determined, was less rash. He
thought it just as well not to destroy them; so he sent them
back to Havana. They were fierce, war-like people,- these
Spaniards,-not looking for homes as did the peaceful col-
onists of later times, but bent only on discovery and conquest,
no matter what the cost.
De Soto, with his -camps, his infantry, his cavalry, his
sparkling armor, and his loud-sounding trumpets, made a
picture very different from that of the peace-loving colonists.
Let us find gold gold Gold was their aim in all they
did. Gold at any cost! was De Soto's watchword. What
wonder, then, that he had no time for justice toward the
natives, no thought of kindness for them.
"Indians," said he, "have no rights except to bow to us
and serve as our slaves."
Meaning from the very beginning to make slaves of them,
he had brought with him bloodhounds to hunt them down,
and chains to bind them with. Wherever the army marched,
these poor Indians were dragged along, loaded down with
baggage, and lashed by their cruel masters if they sank be-
neath their burdens.
At their first landing, De Soto found a Spaniard who had
for twelve years lived among the Florida Indians. "Where
CAMPING IN THE FLORIDA FORESTS.
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is the gold ? Where is the gold?" asked he, eagerly.
I do not know," answered the Spaniard.
"Do not know ? cried De Soto. "Lived here twelve
years, and do not know? Away with him to the chains!
He shall guide us to the gold, or he shall die !"
The Indians came to his rescue. Pointing to the moun-
tains far away, they said, There is gold there is gold !"
De Soto had heard, -and was greedy enough to hope it
was true, that somewhere in Florida was a golden city,
with golden streets, and golden-palaces, ruled over by a king
who, every day, was sprinkled over with fine golden powder,
who lay upon a golden couch, and was served always from
This absurd story was enough to keep up the courage of
these wealth-seeking Spaniards ; and on they went, enduring
all sorts of hardships for the sake of the hoped-for El
Dorado," or City of the Gilded King."
Perhaps if these Spaniards had not been so dazzled with
t I,., visions of shining gold, they might have seen more
1..:ii1, their way through the deep Florida forests. Good
soldiers though they were, and skillful as was their leader,
-this little band of six hundred became most hopelessly lost
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in the wildernesses,- so lost that never has it been possible
to trace their line of march.
It must have' been a terrible journey, covering thousands
of miles, and lasting many years; and they led on always by
nothing higher and better than the greed of gold. Wherever
this could be heard of, De Soto hurried on his weary,
wretched soldiers, until, at last, worn out by disease and
famine, De Soto himself died.
Then the few miserable followers who were left made
their way to the coast, flying before the wrath of the
Indians, whom, a few short years before, they had so cruelly
Where they had been all this time, they hardly knew them-
selves; but that they had, in their wanderings, reached the
banks of the Mississippi, there is no doubt. One of the sol-
diers in speaking of it says, "We found a river so wide that
if a man stood upon the opposite bank, it could not be seen
whether he was a man or not. So great was it, and so
strong was the current, that great trees were borne along
on its waters." This, of course, must have been the
Mississippi, since we know that there is nowhere in that'
part of the country, another river of which any. such,
description could have been true.
BURIAL OF DE SOTO.
THE GREAT WEST.
In Irving's "Conquest of Florida," he gives this descrip-
tion of De Soto's burial: -
"They buried him in the dead of night, with sentinels
posted to keep the natives at a distance. The place chosen
for the sepulchre was one of many pits, broad and deep; but,
with all their precautions, they soon found out that the Indi-
ans suspected not only the death of the governor, but the
place where he lay buried; for, in passing by the pit, they
would stop, look round attentively on all sides, talk with one
another, and make signs with their chins and their eyes to-
ward the spot where the body was interred. The Spaniards
perceiving this, determined to disinter the body and deposit
it in the mid-channel of the Mississippi. As there was no
stone in the neighborhood wherewith to sink it, they cut
down an evergreen oak, and made an excavation in one side,
of the size of a man. On the following night, with all the
silence possible, they disinterred the body, and placed it in
the trunk of the oak, nailing planks over the aperture. The
rustic coffin was then conveyed to the center of the river,
where, in presence of priests and cavaliers, it was committed
to the stream, and they beheld it sink to the bottom, shed-
ding many tears over this second funeral rite, and commend-
ing anew the soul of the good cavalier to heaven."
AD De Soto lived, his little band might have crossed
the Mississippi, and so have begun the exploration
of the Great West. The Indians of the Great
West, however, lost little in losing this opportunity to enter-
tain De Soto's band, if we may judge from the fate of those
tribes who had received them.
Meantime, however, Mendoza, inspired by the cruel tri-
umphs of Cortez in Mexico, burned to set out northward on
a like expedition. Not only did he hope to rival Cortez, but
he had heard that in that great unknown region north of
Mexico, there were gold, and silver, and great cities. More-
over, he hoped somewhere to find the end of the land, and so
have the glory of having first crossed the continent. Many
efforts had been made to do this, but all thus far had only
:n.iled in failure.
'Two great obstacles met Mendoza at the very start.
One was that the unknown country could be reached, as
Lu as they knew, only by crossing the mountains, or by pass-
THE GREAT WEST.
ing through the mountain defiles, which were so rugged and
high, so steep and rough, that it seemed but foolish risk of
life to attempt them.
The second obstacle was one for which the Spaniards had
only to thank themselves, and that was the fury and hatred
of the natives with whom they had dealt so cruelly in times
past. All up among these very mountains which must be
crossed, these Indians were now living, nursing their anger,
and only waiting opportunities for revenge.
Mendoza did not care to set out to meet any such enemies
as these seemed likely to prove to be. He therefore planned
a method of approach different from that of Cortez or that of
He took a good old monk from his cell, gave him a guide,
and bade him go into the new country and explore, being
very careful everywhere to carry messages of peace and
good will to the Indians.
In this way, many natives were coaxed down from the
mountains. These were easily won over by gifts and the
kind words of the old monk, and so the way was opened.
Old Father Marco then pressed on across the mountains
into the land of the Zufii. What might have happened we
cannot know; but here Father Marco's negro guide was
THE GREAT WEST.
murdered, and the old monk hurried back to the Spanish
settlements. The following year, another attempt at ex-
ploration was made, but with no better success.
Near as they were upon the much-coveted gold and silver
lands, it was more than thirty years before another attempt
of any importance was made to enter the mysterious country
beyond the rocky wall.
At the end of that time, again two monks set out from
the Spanish settlements. The Indian had not forgotten, in
all these years, the early cruelty of the Spaniards. Perhaps
it was because of this fear and dread of Indian revenge, per-
haps it was from real honesty of purpose, that the Spaniards
now decided that the best way to approach these Indians
would be to first convert them to the Christian religion.
We will hope it was the latter. Certainly it was quite time
that other means than the bloodhounds and chains should
be used to conquer them, if, indeed, they could be con-
Accordingly, two monks were sent out among the natives
with express commands that, under no circumstances, was
cruelty to be used toward one of the simple, heathen red men.
These monks journeyed on to the valley of the Rio Grande.
Two years later, other missionaries set forth, and these, going
40 THE GREAT WEST.
far up the river, brought back reports of people living in
cities and in houses, some of whom had even a Christian
religion, which they said had been taught their forefathers
long before. Others, however, worshipped idols, for which
they had wonderful temples built.
There were great differences between the natives of dif-
ferent settlements. Some lived in huts of mud, or in rude
houses of boughs and straw; others lived in high, stone-
built houses, four, five, and six stories high.
The farther north the explorers went, the more people
they found, and the better their condition. To this part of
the country which in its trees, and soil, and climate, seemed
so much like the Mexico from which they had traveled, the
Spaniards gave the name of New Mexico.
IN due time the exploring Spaniards reached what we now
call Lower California. Thinking this to be an island,
they gave it the name of California. This was the name
of a certain fabled island in an old Spanish romance; and
as this new point of land seemed very beautiful, and as the
Spaniards had always been fond of fanciful names, they gave
the name to this last discovery. They sailed along the coast,
farther and farther north, exploring as they went, until they
reached Cape Mendocino.
But are the Spanish to go on forever ? Is no other nation
to interfere ? Are they to get possession of the whole con-
Well, not quite such good fortune is in store for cruel
Spain as that. Already, as they say, "a cloud no bigger
than a man's hand is beginning to rise in Spain's hitherto
clear sky. And that cloud, if you look at it sharply, has a
very English air about it. It. looks, indeed, very like an
THE GREAT WEST.
Yes, England had at last produced a mariner whose name
already was coming to be a terror even to the Spaniards.
Francis Drake had already passed the Straits of Magellan
with one little vessel, on into the great South Sea..
Drake seemed not to know what fear meant. Fighting,
plundering, capturing,- on he went up the coast in spite
of Spanish threats. It was finally believed at this time that
somewhere there was a passage through from the Atlantic to
the Pacific. It was spoken of as "The Northwest Passage."
Drake, knowing that the Spaniards were lying in wait for
him if he returned by the old route, thought, since peril was
in store for him whatever course he took, that he might
as well try to find this much-talked-of and much-longed-
for passage, and return that way.
So on he went father and farther north, until the climate
began to grow so cold that his men rebelled against
going farther on. Drake was, therefore, obliged to turn
Finding a snug little harbor off the coast of California, he
dropped anchor there, landed, and spent many days in
exploring the country round about.
When Drake's great vessel came sailing up the bay, the
natives came rushing down in troops to meet it.
SIR FRANCIS DRAKE.
THE GREAT WEST.
Glad enough were they to find the newcomers showing
a flag not Spanish, and speaking a language unlike any they
had before heard.
The king of the country, Drake afterwards reported, took
off his crown and placed it upon Drake's head in token
of his willingness to accept him as their new king.
Drake set up a great post on this shore, upon which
he fixed a brass plate bearing the name of Elizabeth, the
"How will the Spaniards like that!" said Drake, as
he took possession of the country in the name of England.
Then away he sailed, off across the Pacific, by way of Cape
Good Hope, home.
Spain now rose in fury. Ambassadors were sent to Eng-
land to tell the English throne that her mariners had in-
fringed upon Spanish rights; that the western coast be-
longed to them.
The queen listened for a long time to their greedy story;
but Queen Elizabeth was not one to listen long with patience
to any tale of Spanish power. She finally sent the ambassa-
dors home, feeling very much as if their ears had been
soundly boxed; for when Elizabeth raised her temper and her
voice, it was a daring man who cared to stay and listen.
THE GREAT WEST.
And so Mendoza, the ambassador, went home to his king
with the message that the English throne would continue
still to believe that the sea and the air was not yet owned by
This sarcastic message was received by the Spanish king
with fury and with loud threats of revenge. It was not until
eight years after this that the English navy, with Drake at
its head, met the "Invincible Armada" of the Spanish in
the English channel, and proved to that haughty power that
England, not Spain; henceforth would rule the sea.
The Spanish power was broken. No longer was the
Spanish flag the terror of the world.
But to return to California. The real settlement of this
country was, like all others under the Spanish direction, a
half-military, half-religious plan. Enough was known of the
climate and soil to prove to the Spaniards that it was worth
their while to push on from the barren, sandy tracts of New
Missions were accordingly set up in Lower California, and
at the same time forts and batteries were set up along the
Although urged on by the dreams of great harvests from
this warm, rich soil, you may be sure the Spaniards had no
THE GREAT WEST.
intention whatever of doing the work themselves. That
was not the Spanish way. It was the Indians who were to.
do the work.
As one by one the stations were built, the Indians were
told to draw together about them, that the white people
might more easily teach them how to live as they lived, as
well as how to die as Christians died.
Being innocent, submissive people, they very willingly
came, and set to work building houses, tilling the soil, and
tending the herds -doing, in short, all the work, and giving
in to the Spaniards all the wealth. The Spaniards, on the
other hand, by giving the Indians clothes and food, kept
'4hem under their control, making them believe that they
were caring for them as no other people had ever been cared
for. The simple-hearted Indians could not see that they
earned for the white people, by their labor, ten times over
the cloths and food they gave them.
And how about the commerce of these nations ? You may
be sure the ports were carefully guarded from all other than
Spanish vessels. They would hardly have cared to have the
English or the French learn the resources of this country.
Once a year a Spanish vessel would come into port, and
the Indian slaves would see the products of their year's hard
THE GREAT WEST. 47
work carried off to unknown lands. Whether it ever
occurred to them that this was unjust, I do not know. It
would have made very little difference, as far as helping
themselves was concerned, if they had been wise enough to
know their wrongs
All trade was carried on by ocean, and it was long, long
after the settlements by the English on the Atlantic coast,
that a way was opened across the deserts of Colorado. After
that a little trade sprang up between the provinces, but the
road was so long and so beset with dangers, that little was
accomplished, and the Spaniards were left unmolested.
:-~:* -. ....
FTER Columbus had discovered America, the French
were among the first to turn their attention to the new
world. They were, however, very innocent and
moderate in their desires regarding it. While the Spaniards
were spurred on by the thirst for gold and power, and were
willing to crush and kill, if need be, every soul that dared
oppose them, the French had in view only new sources of
supply for their trade.
Spain would have been glad if she could have frightened
from American shores every man not in Spanish employ,
but she could not do quite so much as that. The spirit of
discovery was wide awake in all the nations of Europe, and
it would not be lulled nor frightened into repose again.
Spain forced these other nations to keep at most respectful
distances, but she could not keep them off the ocean entirely,
much as she wished it.
At this time the French had shown themselves brave and
daring upon the sea. Indeed, it is said that "they had sailed
THE GREAT WEST.
boldly out into the great Atlantic in ships no larger than
a modern oyster boat."
By accident, we might almost say, Cartier pushed on
towards the north, discovered the great St. Lawrence, and
sailed on and on for three hundred miles or more into the
Amazed at the greatness of the stream, they believed it
must be the way to India -that wonderful route for which
all traders were searching, as had the early Spaniards
searched for the El Dorado. But whether it was the way
to India or not, of one thing they were sure: whichever
nation got control of that great waterway would guard one
gateway, at least, to the great continent.
The Frenchmen, ever eager to see the glory of their coun-
try advanced, began at once to dream dreams and see visions
of a New France which should magnify in importance and in
glory the dear Old France.
These French, from the beginning, easily won the confi-
dence of the Indians, and so gained their ready willingness
to help. The French respected their rights and their ideas,
and so won their loyal friendship. They went, too, in among
them, lived with them, hunted and fished with them, and
learned their language and their habits. Add to all this the
THE GREAT WEST.
passionate, eager way with which the French enter into any-
thing they undertake, and we understand why it was that the
Indians were for a long time so attached to the French.
Although Cartier ascended the St. Lawrence as early as
1534, it was not until more than half a century later that the
work of settling a French colony began in earnest. Then
Champlain, after whom Lake Champlain is named, founded
that quaint little old city of Quebec.
Did you ever hear how this city came to receive its odd
name? It is said that as these French explorers were sail-
ing up the river, they came suddenly upon a sharp point of
high land. O, qucl bec!" meaning, "0, what a beak!"
cried the commander. And so Quel bec," or Que' bec,"
it has been called to this day.
Champlain, seeing at once how valuable and how strongly
fortified a site for a future city this would be, at once estab-
lished a "trading-post there.
Here an active fur trade was set up with the Indians. The
Indians, childishly anxious to display the wonders of their
country, told the French of the copper mines farther to the
west, and the way in which this copper could be cleansed
and used. Spurred on by hope of greater gain, the French
pushed farther into the wild forests. It would have been so
THE GREAT WEST.
easy to have gone down into what is now our Middle Atlan-
tic States, and set up trading-posts along the Hudson And
it would have been so grand to have got control of the Great
Lakes, with their wonderful advantages for trading and
But, unfortunately for Champlain, the Indians north of the
St. Lawrence and the Indians south of the St. Lawrence
were deadly foes. More than that, Champlain had foolishly
taken part with these northern Indians in a struggle with
the southern. This, of course, had brought down the undy-
ing hatred of these last upon the French; and they were
determined that no French should enter their country if
continual petty warfare could keep them out.
Because of this, the French, wishing to reach Lake Huron,
were compelled to make a laborious overland journey through
the country of the friendly Indians, carrying their canoes
from water to water, over the rough land passes.
To Jean Nicolet fell the honor of pushing on into the
west as far as Green Bay. He was, without doubt, the first
white man to tread Wisconsin soil.
During all this time, rumors of the doings of the Spanish
on the western coast were spreading abroad, and gladly
would the French have set forth on expeditions westward,
THE GREAT WEST.
had the unfriendly southern Indians not kept them busy
where they were. Indeed, the French could hardly feel
safe in their forts at Montreal; to set out into the hostile
country was certainly not to be thought of.
The missionaries were loud in their cries against these
heathen, calling upon all the saints to rid them of .this
scourge. But not only did these Indians hate the French,
not only did they declare war and vengeance forever, but
there were the Dutch in New York, who had established
rival fur-trading posts, urging them on against the French,
even providing them with fire-arms to use against them.
At last a genuine outbreak between the two tribes ended
in the utter destruction of the northern Indians. The few
who were left fled, some east, some west, and the southern
Indians rushing in to take possession of their deserted lands,
hemmed in the French completely.
This was a dark time for the French. Not only could
they make no progress westward, but their trade was embar-
rassed, their homes were in danger, and life itself was in con-
But a brighter day dawned at last. Some Lake Superior
Indians came sailing up the river to Quebec. The traders
gladly seized upon the opportunity to make friends with their
THE GREAT WEST.
visitors, and establish trading terms with them. The monks,
too, did not let pass the opportunity to teach them the white
man's religion. When the Indians were ready to go back
into their own country, they asked that a missionary be sent
with them to teach this new God to their people.
It would be a terrible journey, and a life of bitter hardship
must follow for the missionary that should be chosen for this
work. Still the opportunity must not be neglected ; and one
of the good fathers came forward, offering himself for the
As you grow older, and read more deeply into the history
of these times, you will hear much said in defense of, and
much in condemnation of, these early Jesuit priests. One
writer will tell you that they were pure, unselfish, self-sacri-
ficing teachers of what they believed to be the true religion;
another will tell you that they were actuated by nothing
higher than desire to glorify France and push the fur-trade.
You and I could hardly presume to say what might have
been their motives. We know men will sacrifice much for
their country, but still there is a something in the lives of
these Jesuit priests, a something in their willingness to sac-
rifice, in their devotion, in their endurance, thatseems to tell
us that, whatever may have been the motives of those who
THE GREAT WEST.
sent them, they themselves must have been filled with an
honest desire to do what to them seemed right.
This priest who set out with the Indians on their return
to their own people, was brave and faithful; but the cold and
the exposure were more than he could bear, and in only a
short time the Indians came back to say that the good man
was dead. That he had faithfully done his work, that he
had drawn the Indians to him, and had touched their hearts,
we know; for at his death we are told the Indians were
"much grieved and did earnestly desire that another father
should come among them."
Undismayed by the sad fate of his brother worker, Father
Allonez, the following summer, set out in company with a
band of returning Indians. For two long years he worked
among them; and at length succeeded in forming a mission
on the southern shore of Lake Superior.
During all this time, he had sent no word to his brothers
at Quebec, and they had long since given him up as dead.
But one bright morning he appeared before them, footsore
and weary, but full of hope and courage, eager to tell of his
strange adventures,"and to enlist the sympathies of his fel-
low priests in' these far-off Indian tribes.
He had traveled" from tribe to tribes over the country,
MISSIONARIES AMONG THE INDIANS.
THE GREAT WEST. 57
through the forests, and across the waters. Down into the
land of the dreaded southern Indians he had traveled, and it
was there he had built his mission. He .had talked with
them, had learned their ways and their language; had heard
glowing accounts of their country, which, they said, "reached
to the end of the earth." From them he had heard of the
great river, the "Messipi," of the wonderful gold and silver
countries, and of the many tribes far to the westward.
When it became known in France that the head-waters'of
a great river had been found, the fire of adventure blazed up
again. It was quick to be seen that a stream whose head-
waters were so broad and powerful as these were said to be,
must pour itself into the sea. Then, too, it must be a long
river. Perhaps it flowed into the Atlantic, perhaps into the
Pacific, perhaps into the Gulf of Mexico. That they did not
yet know. But that it must be a great river, and that, what-
ever its course, it must prove a great waterway as great,
and perhaps greater, than the St. Lawrence this the
traders were quick enough to see. "Think !" said the
French; "we already control- one great 'water route into.
the heart of the continent If We can plant our standard at
the mouth of this other mighty stream, we shall control its
whole course -perhaps the whole continent! "
MARQUETTE AND JOLIET.
AGER to begin the exploration of this mighty stream,
Marquette, a priest, and Joliet, a trader and an
explorer, were sent forth. If the French could get
possession of this great waterway, they were sure the Span-
iards could be kept from advancing farther into the conti-
nent, the English could be kept upon the Atlantic coast,
and the French would then, indeed, become the nation of
the "New World."
Joliet .was quite as impatient to set forth as France was to
have him, and Father Marquette had long been praying that
it might be granted him to carry the gospel to the tribes
along the shores of the great river. It was with joy, then,
that in May, 1673, these two, with only five companions, set
forth upon Lake Michigan.
They coasted this lake, passed into Green Bay, entered
Fox River, crossed Lake Winnebago, reaching, at last, a little
Indian village, where, to Marquette's great.joy, they found a
cross standing unharmed among the wigwams, planted
there by the good Father Allonez.
THE GREAT WEST.
This was as far as'white men had ever pushed their ex-
plorations. All beyond this place was to be an unknown
land. On they went into the heart of Wisconsin, sometimes
paddling along the sunny waters, sometimes carrying their
canoes across the desert places. They found the Wisconsin
River. Following its course, they came, at last, to a place
where its waters lost themselves in a great roaring, rushing
Could this be the Messipi, the wonderful river of the
Indians,-the river guarded over by the great and terrible
demon? It must be! there could not be another so great,
and dark, and broad! The long-sought Mississippi was
found at last.
Carefully and watchfully, for they knew not what tribes
might dwell along its banks, the explorers sailed rapidly on-
Such forests! such sunny prairies! such rushing waters!
And all so grand and free!
One day they saw upon, the river-side signs of habitation.
Landing, they found a well-worn path.
"This," said Joliet, must be a foot-path. And see! here
is an arrow. Here a bit of wampum! There is a village
VOYAGE OF MARQUETTE AND JOLIET.
THE GREAT WEST.
Suddenly they came out into a sunny, open place, where,
sure enough, stood a little group of wigwams, with Indians
lying about the door-ways smoking, and sunning themselves
on the fresh, warm earth.
Amazed, and perhaps somewhat frightened at the sudden
appearance of white men before their very doors, the Indians
hurried forward to meet their guests, offering at once the
"Who are you?" asked Marquette.
"We are the Illinois," was the honest reply.
"We are with friends !" cried Marquette and Joliet to-
gether, for they saw within the wigwams articles which they
knew must have come from the French trading-posts. If
these people trade with our people, they must be friendly
with us, and they will tell us where we are. They will tell
us of the river, and of the people we shall find along its
So, entering the camp, they met the Indians cordially, ac-
cepted their generous offers of food and rest, smoked the
peace-pipe with them, eagerly drinking in every word of
information regarding the wonderland below.
When they went back to their canoes, they had made
friends with the whole village, and, in token of it, the whole
THE GREAT WEST.
village escorted them to the water's edge. As Marquette
left the village, an old chief placed in his hands the peace-
pipe, which he said would be his safeguard among all the
Indians along the river.
Grateful, indeed, were the Frenchmen for this; for among
the Indians the peace-pipe is looked upon with reverence and
honor. To attack a stranger bearing a peace-pipe would be
a breach of Indian honor not to be thought of.
Sailing along they passed the Illinois, pouring its waters
into the Mississippi, then the Missouri, then the Ohio or
the River Beautiful. No danger menaced them until they
reached the Arkansas. There, suddenly, a fleet of war canoes
shot out from the bank, and spread themselves in such a way
that to pass them or to escape them was impossible.
Now, indeed, were the explorers thankful for the peace-
pipe of the Illinois. The young savages had already fitted
their arrows and were bending their bows. Holding high
the peace-pipe, Marquette made friendly signs, at which the
bows were dropped, and the little band was saved.
They were now allowed to pass, and were told that only a
few leagues down the river they would find the "great
town," of the tribe, and there they would learn all they
wished to know about the river.
THE GREAT WEST.
Reaching the town, they were taken ashore and treated to
a great feast. But so strongly did their new friends warn
them against further progress down the river, telling them of
the tribes below who carried firearms and whose only occu-
pation was war upon all white men,,that it was decided best
to return. "We have not seen the mouth of the river," said
Joliet, "to be sure; but there is no doubt now of its course,
and no doubt that it flows into the Gulf of Mexico. If we
go on we may be killed, and then France will know nothing
of our discovery. If we go back and report what we have
found, we may, perhaps, come again with a larger band, and
be able to force our way to the outlet."
Reasoning thus, they turned back, and in a few weeks
reached Lake Michigan.
The Mississippi had now been explored for six hundred
miles. There was little doubt that it was, indeed, the "Great
River," and that it flowed into the Gulf of Mexico. Still the
exploration was not complete. Some applauded the wisdom
of Joliet in returning, others sneered at him and saw no
reason why he should not have forced his way to the very
end. Joliet had never proved himself a traitor or a coward,
and, whether wise or not, it certainly is probable that Joliet
was honest in his judgment that he should return with what
64 THE GREAT WEST.
information he had gained rather than that the whole should
be lost through rashness. There are times, even in explora-
tion, when discretion is the better part of valor."
Marquette remained to teach the gospel to an Indian tribe,
and Joliet alone.conveyed the glad tidings of the discoveries
to Quebec. It is said he was received with enthusiastic de-
light. The bells were rung during a greater part of the
whole day, and all the clergy and dignitaries of the church
went in procession to the cathedral to celebrate high mass.
Notwithstanding the great excitement produced by this
event, it did not lead to further discovery for some time. The
good Father Marquette dying soon after, and Joliet being
otherwise occupied, the great river lay unnoticed in the wil-
derness, and its discovery seemed almost forgotten.
T HE exploration of the Mississippi was to be finished
by La Salle.
This man was, perhaps, the "prince of explorers."
He is called so by some writers; and if brains and ideas,
force and will, could make him so, the name is, perhaps, not
Before setting out upon his expedition, La Salle proposed
first to build a vessel in which to cross the lakes, and so do
away with the tiresome canoe journey. So it came about
that La Salle's was the first vessel launched upon the Great
Delay upon delay prevented the party from setting out
until far into the autumn. Already those cold, north lake-
winds were blowing, sharp and keen. Even now, La Salle's
man Tonty must be waited for. At last he came, but it
was now December. Many murmured against setting out
at this time in the season, through unknown lands. La
Salle, however, was not the man to retreat. "It will be
THE GREAT WEST.
warmer farther south," he said; "then, too, we shall find
food and shelter in the Illinois towns a little below."
So on they went to the town of the friendly Illinois, but,
to their great disappointment, they found the town deserted.
The people had gone to hunt the buffalo, that being their
custom at this time of the year. This was a heavy blow to
La Salle, for he had hoped here to get food and guides for
the journey. Next, they came upon a tribe of Indians who
begged them not to venture down the river. "It is filled,"
said they, "with snakes and alligators, serpents and terrible
monsters. Then, too, there are savage herds along the
banks who wait with poisoned arrows to attack the white
man. And the river itself is full of raging, seething whirl-
pools, hungry to swallow up the white man's canoe."
These silly stories were received by La Salle with great
contempt. "There is some reason," said he, "why these
natives do not want us to go down the river, and they take
this way to frighten us back."
His men were not so sure of this. Many of them grew
sullen and fearful. Six of them deserted outright and
hurried back to Quebec.
La Salle and his little band now went into winter quarters,
built a fort, and waited the coming of the warmer days. At
THE GREAT WEST.
no time did he show one sign of grief, or regret, or lack of
courage. Apparently he was of iron heart. Still, if one.
may judge from the name he gave his fort -Crevecceur,
meaning broken-hearted there were times when he, too,
dreamed of the sunny France he had left so far behind.
Nothing, however, could shake the determination of this
brave leader. Leaving the fort in the charge of Tonty, he
himself made a journey back for the provisions which he must
have before he could set forth down the river.
When he returned to the Indian village, he found only the
charred and blackened ruins, and the burned and mangled
bodies of his friends. During his absence, hostile tribes had
fallen upon the Illinois, had slaughtered them, and had
burned their village. The fort, too, he found deserted; for
as soon as he had gone away, the men had risen against
Tonty, had plundered the fort, and had gone off leaving
Tority to the mercy of the savages.
Good, faithful Tonty La Salle's strong, right-hand man!
Wretched, and in despair, La Salle searched for him, wan-
dering here and there until he came to the Mississippi. But
no Tonty was to be found. Then returning to Montreal, he
gathered more men about him, and set forth a third time for
the Great River, the Father of Waters.
THE GREAT WEST.
You know the old saying that the third time never fails.
True or not, it proved true this time at least. Quietly
they sailed on, very little of note happening, until at last, on
the sixth of April, 1682, they had reached that point near
the mouth of the river where it branches in three directions.
"Which shall we take ?" the men asked.
"I," said La Salle, "will take the most western branch;
you, Tonty,-for Tonty had been found,-shall take the
middle; and you, my brave man, shall take the eastern."
"The water," said La Salle, "grows to taste more salt.
Surely we are coming into the Gulf of Mexico; and a little
later, the canoes did, in truth, glide out upon the clear,
smooth waters of the gulf. The Mississippi was now no
longer an object of myth and speculation. It had been navi-
gated from its source to its outlet; and so, landing not far above
the mouth of the river, La Salle set up the arms of France,
and, in the name of Louis, King of France, took formal pos-
session of all the land watered by the Mississippi, giving it
the name of Louisiana.
THE UPPER MISSISSIPPI.
JAS Joliet had had with him the priest Marquette, so La
Salle had set out with Father Hennepin. It was the
intention in these French expeditions that explora-
tion and conversion should go hand in hand.
While La Salle was delayed in his voyage down the
Mississippi, he sent two of his men and Father Hennepin up
the river," that, when he should have returned from his
own voyage, he might be able to prepare a full account
of the wonders of the entire river from its source to its outlet.
For six weeks these explorers paddled peacefully up
the river, nothing of especial note falling to their notice.
"If only we can keep clear of the Sioux said they. But
one day when they had stopped to mend a leaking canoe,
suddenly there burst upon them the war-cry of these very
Indians whom of all others they hoped to avoid. In a
moment they were surrounded. With scowls and howls and
flourishing of tomahawks, they fell upon the defenceless
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Hennepin offered the peace-pipe; but the peace-pipe this
time had no weight with the angry Sioux, who had long
waited for just such an opportunity as this to avenge them-
selves on the white men.
Hennepin fell upon his knees and began muttering prayers
aloud. This seemed' only to infuriate the Indians the more.
VOYAGE OF LA SALLE DOWN THE MISSISSIPPI.
"He is making charms! He is making charms! cried they.
"Scalp him scalp him he is calling up the demons !"
It was only by promising to call no more upon the evil
spirits that Father Hennepin saved his own and his friends'
lives. Escape, however, was impossible. For nineteen days
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the three Frenchmen were driven like cattle before the sav-
age Sioux, who seemed to find relief to their pent up.wrath
by afflicting all sorts of petty abuses upon the defenceless
At last the village of the Sioux was reached. Here
Hennepin was put in the care of an old warrior, who, by and
by, adopted him as his own son.
A hard, weary winter followed for the captives.
But when the summer came, and the Sioux went forth to
hunt the buffalo, then was their time to plan an escape.
La Salle, when they had set forth, had promised to send
word to them at the mouth of the Wisconsin.
"If we can only get there," said the Frenchmen, "we are
sure of help." So telling the Sioux that their friends were
coming loaded with gifts, the greedy Indians agreed to let
two of the white men go down the river.
It was at this time the falls were passed to which
Hennepin gave the name of St. Anthony, naming them from
his own patron saint.
To their surprise and chagrin, a little farther on, they
were overtaken by a party of the Sioux, who, being sus-
picious of their story, had followed them all the way. Find-
ing that they were really going to the mouth of the
LA SALLE CLAIMS THE
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Wisconsin as they had said, and thinking that perhaps it was
true that white men were to be there with their loads of
gifts, they ordered the two white men to remain where they
were, while they themselves would go ahead and meet
the party and secure the gifts for themselves.
Of course no white men were there, and, what was of
much more interest to the Sioux, no loads of gifts, and back
they paddled, angry enough at the white men who had
After this, the Frenchmen were watched more closely than
ever, and were treated more cruelly. No attempts at escape
were made, for they knew only too well how useless it would
It was months later when, at last, a company of French
traders came into the village of the Sioux, and ransomed
Father Hennepin and his two companions.
One of this rescuing party was named Duluth, and another
Pepin. After one of these, the settlement of Duluth was
named, and after the other, Lake.Pepin. We have, therefore,
in the Falls of St. Anthony, the city of Duluth, and Lake
'cpin, a group of names which should always suggest to us
this little exploring party who attempted, in spite of all
danger, to reach the source of the Mississippi.
DEATH OF LA SALLE.
ALTHOUGH LaSalle knew, for the object of trans-
portation, the Mississippi was of no value to the
French at present, he appreciated the necessity of
keeping the -way open.
Accordingly, the first thing to be done was to plant a
colony at the mouth of the great river. Having done this,
he went to France to report his discoveries to the king, and
set forth his plans for the future. One plan was that a fort
be built a little distance up the river, which should become a
trading center for all neighboring tribes. This, he knew,
could be more easily done from the fact that the Indians so
hated the Spaniards. Having built and established this
center, it would be easy, with the help of the Indians, to
push on into the silver regions, drive out the four hundred
Spaniards there, and get possession.
The plan was easily seized upon by the king. Instead of
the two vessels La Salle asked for with which to carry out
his scheme, he was given four. La Salle set to work with
THE GREAT WEST.
his natural energy, and, in a short time, enough soldiers,
priests, arms, provisions, and colonists were got together
to establish a settlement at once.
So great a character as La Salle could not be without ene-
mies. His reserve of manner, the greatness and the broad-
ness of his schemes, the grandeur of his successes, all tended
to promote jealousy in the petty minds of his companions.
Before he set sail on this expedition, which promised so
much, he and his leading naval officer had quarreled. La
Salle, sarcastic and intolerant, had drawn himself into his
shell, as people say, and the naval officer, chafing under
the coldness and reserve of his superior, sulked and
Nevertheless, the vessels set forth. One of them was
seized by a Spanish buccaneer, but the other three reached
the entrance to the gulf in safety. Here they were detained
by illness among the crew and the passengers, La Salle him-
self lying for many days at death's door.
La Salle, anxious to perform what had been given him by
his country to be done, set forth before he was fairly able,
steering westward into the gulf. Although La Salle knew
he was not near the mouth of the river, on New Year's Day
they landed. The sneers of his officers drove him, perhaps,
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to this rashness, for La Salle, even while landing, held that
they must have gone too far to the west. They were, indeed,
far beyond the mouth of the river-some four hundred miles
- on the coast of Texas.
With the leaders so at variance, it is no wonder that the
colonists and the soldiers were out of spirits. And when it
became known that even La Salle himself did not know where
they had landed, they were seized with fear and misgivings.
Beaujeu, the naval officer, after openly expressing his con-
tempt for La Salle, had sailed away.
It was a hard position for La Salle. He tried to put
courage into the little band, by setting them to work and
helping them to build their houses. This little village
La Salle named St Louis after the French King.
Unused to the climate and the exposed life, death and
sickness were with them through the summer. The Span-
iards, too, were far from friendly, and the Indians were ever
on the alert to strike down any Frenchman who wandered
beyond the protection of the settlement.
When at last they were comfortably settled, La Salle set
forth with fifty men to find the river which he had so
recently navigated. For months they wandered about, but
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came back tired and worn, having no tidings. to bring of the
Meantime the one vessel they had kept to carry them to
the Mississippi when it should be found, had been lost; men
were dying; disaster upon disaster followed.
LaSalle would not give way to despair--at least not be-
fore his men.
"There is but one thing to do now," said he, "and that
is to some way get to Canada. To get to France is impossi-
ble. Let us keep up our courage. Remember, I am as badly
off as you, and I am as desirous of finding help and comfort.
Now, who will volunteer to set forth' with me to Canada?
We can, at least, all die together."
Twenty men set out again upon this very dangerous and
uncertain jouriiey. As these brave mefi set forth, La Salle
at their head, the hopes of the little colony rose 'once more.
They found their way to the country of the Anis Indians.
Here sickness and weakness from starvation overcame them,
and they were compelled to give way. Buying a few horses
from the Indians, they retraced their steps, coming at length
into their little village, more wretched and dispirited than
But what could be done La Salle knew full well the
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discontent among his men, their mistrust and hatred for
him. .Still there was but one hope-that of reaching
Canada. Again he set forth, this time with fewer men, and
these, too, with less of courage and more of hatred for the
man whom they felt had brought them to this wretched pass.
At midnight, beneath the open sky, high mass was said.
La Salle spoke a few words of hopeful cheer to these who
were to set forth with him upon this perilous journey, and to
those weary ones who were to await their return. Then the
little band filed quietly away through the forest, out of sight.
It was a long, hard journey-sometimes across the hot
prairies, sometimes through almost impassible morasses,
through dense forests, across streams, and up and down the
Indians they met from time to time, some of whom seemed
friendly, others suspicious and revengeful. The weather was
unfavorable, the roads were rough, danger's beset them on
every side, and, worse than all, hate lurked in the hearts of
the little band toward their leader. La Salle, always cold
and haughty, made no attempt to gain the love of his men,
and made no pretence of hiding his contempt for certain ones
among them who, to him, seemed contemptible.
Matters were brought to a terrible climax at last. Certain
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hunters who had gone to find some corn which La Salle had
hidden on his previous expedition, chanced to kill a buffalo.
The sight of blood was, to the hate in the hearts of these men,
like fuel to a smouldering fire. Open quarrel burst forth.
The long-cherished longing to murder La Salle and others in
the party sprang into action. Plots were conceived and
rapidly executed. Three of the party were murdered in
their sleep, and then the infuriated assassins hid themselves
in the long grass awaiting the coming of La Salle himself.
For two days La Salle waited in his camp the return of
his men. Then unable to bear the suspense, and having a
foreboding that something of this nature may have taken
place, he set forth with the friar, Anastase Douay, to find his
"All the way," the friar afterwards wrote, "he talked of
nothing but matters of piety and grace, enlarging on the
debt he owed to God who had saved him from so many
perils. Suddenly I saw him overcome with a sadness for
which he himself could not account. So much moved was
he that I could hardly know it.was he."
Soon the camp where the buffalo had been killed was
reached. He fired his pistol as a summons to any of his fol-
lowers who might be near by. The shots reached the ears
MURDER OF LA SALLE,
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of the murderers who were lying in wait for him. Two of
them crouched lower in the grass, while the other stood upon
the river-bank to attract La Salle's attention and draw his
footsteps in that direction.
Coming up to him, La Salle demanded haughtily, Where
is my nephew?"
"Along the river, I suppose," answered the man insolently.
"Your salute to your commander!" called forth La Salle,
for by no token whatever had the man recognized the
approach of his leader.
The hunter muttered some insolent, half-intelligible reply,
and moved back.
At that moment a shot rang out upon the air. Another,
and another; and La Salle dropped upon the ground dead.
The good friar stood pale with fright.
The murderers now came forth. "Fear not, good father,"
said they. "We have no wish to harm thee. But thou,"
turning to La Salle's bleeding corpse, "there thou liest,
great Bashaw! There thou liest!"
Then rushing upon the dead body with the fury of wild
animals, they stripped it of its clothing, beat it and cut at it,
and dragged it away to the forests, leaving it there a prey to
the birds and the wolves.
IBERVILLE AND BIENVILLE.
FOR some time after the death of La Salle, nothing was
done about colonizing Louisiana. But at last there
arose another man, Iberville, who proposed to re-dis-
cover the Mississippi, plant a colony there, and carry out
the plans of La Salle.
Iberville, like La Salle, had in France a reputation for
wisdom and capability. Therefore, when the colonizing
scheme was again advanced by him, all intelligent French-
men acknowledged its importance, and were eager to see
the work again carried forth.
A war between France and England was just over, and
Iberville was anxious to distinguish himself in some new
service to his country. Accordingly two vessels were gotten
ready, and Iberville set forth. Coasting about the Florida
coast, in and out among the lagoons, he came, here and
there, upon villages and towns along the coast and up the
river whose inhabitants always gave him cordial welcome.
One day a chief brought him a letter which he said had
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been left there some thirteen years before, to be given to
LaSalle should he ever come to their village. This letter
proved to be one which the faithful Tonty had left for his
loved leader, when, after searching in vain for him, he had
turned back for the-Illinois.
In this letter he said that he had found the cross that La
Salle had erected, fallen; but that he had raised it again in
a more secure place. That, while searching for his com-
mander, he had coasted the Louisiana, coast for thirty
leagues, and the Florida coast for twenty-five.
Sure, now, that he was on the Mississippi, Iberville sailed
down again, found a suitable place in which to begin a settle-
ment, left a colony, and returned to France.
When, a little later, he had come back to his colony, he
learned that English traders were pushing in above him.
Finding himself menaced both by land and sea, he speedily
erected cannon at the mouth of the river, shutting up the
entrance from that direction.
Later he erected storehouses on Dauphine Island, and be-
gan a settlement at Mobile. The colonists soon commenced
the raising of tobacco, and were in a flourishing condition.
Iberville had, indeed, gained a foothold; and had he not
died a little later, we may well suppose that French explore.
THE GREAT WEST.
tion and colonization would have indeed made mighty
At Iberville's death, his brother, Bienville, took up the un-
completed work and carried it on with wisdom and vigor.
Up the river was a rocky place, not unlike Quebec in its
natural fortifications. Upon this the French had for some
time looked with longing. Such a site for a future city!
Such a fortification! But this very place was-the seat of a
powerful Indian tribe whose anger it was not wise to excite.
An opportunity soon offered itself, and Bienville was
quick to take advantage. These very Indians had attacked
some traders passing by, and immediately Bienville com-
menced the building of a fort there.
Next, having overawed these people, a fort was built on
the Red River, to hold in check the Spaniards, who were
already working their way toward the Mississippi with a
view to engrossing the Indian trade.
It seems a pity that France was not wise enough in these
times to see that the way to keep her hold upon her
possessions was to colonize. Had inducements to col-
onists been offered, the history of the French in
America would have been very different. Trade and
money-getting seemed, however, to be their only thought.
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Such a rich soil! Such a wealth of productions! If only
people had been encouraged to go there and settle!
But, just as had been done before on the St. Lawrence,
the monopoly of the trade was "let out" to one man.
He was to control all the people and all the trade of the
entire region. And, as he had no other object than to
accumulate wealth and return to his own country, he
turned every settlement into a trading-post, paying no
heed to the grand possibilities of the region.
Not only was there no inducement to families to build
homes for themselves, but there was equally little induce-
ment even to build up trade; for this one monopolist
was in government employ, and every barter, however
small, was made to pass through this man's agents, at
such a price as should be fixed by them.
This plan was a failure, as one might suppose it would
be; and in five years, Crozat was glad to surrender and
return to France.
After this came the "Gigantic Mississippi Scheme of
John Law." This was a step in advance of the last.
Under this, colonies were planted along the Mississippi
River and its branches, and agriculture was encouraged.
Slaves were brought from the West India Islands, and
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the French began to take on the air of plantation owners.
Bienville now began the building of New Orleans.
This seemed a strange site for a settlement-this bit of
a delta, built of the mud and driftwood which the river
was forever bringing down.
Only a few feet above the level of the sea, likely to
be overflowed with every rise of the river, it is no won-
der that people looked on with amazement at.Bienville's
choice. He, however, knew what the future would do
for this spot if he could induce people to settle there
and improve and fortify it.
That he was wise in his choice has since been proved,
and New Orleans is to-day the metropolis of the South.
Only a little later it was discovered that ships could
pass the great sandbar at the mouth of the river. N6w,
indeed, the great river was open to navigation, and the
value of it began to be realized. Now, from Quebec to
New Orleans, along the St. Lawrence and the Mississippi,
French trading-posts, colonies, military-posts and mission
churches were everywhere to be seen. France held the
two great water-routes of the New World.
ET us turn now to the English. Surely that energetic
nation has not all this time been idle. The belief
in a north-west passage was like a tradition among
the sailors of this nation. We will not stop to speak of
the many English sailors who had set forth into the cold,
barren country of the north, searching for the mythical north-
west passage. It was to the English what El Dorado
had been to the Spanish.
During these many attempts to find this new way to
India, of one thing the English had grown certain, and
that was that the bleak, desolate region about Hudson
Bay was rich in fur-bearing animals. Trading-posts were
at once set up, and England was drawing in a snug little
revenue from her Hudson Bay fur trade. Now and
then the Canadians would break in upon these English
posts, but in time all was held by the English throne.
The Indian inhabitants of these regions were nomadic
races, and, through their help, the English were taught to
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make distant journeys into the interior. Not so very
much was done, because the people there cared only for
fur-trading. The English government, however, were de-
sirous that the wonderful north-west passage be found,
that the glory thereof might revert to the English throne.
Then, too, there was the immense advantage of holding
control of a "short cut" to India, the great trading mart
of the world.
A Scotch trader, Alexander Mackenzie, was, perhaps,
one of the most daring explorers. of his time. For eight
years he had dwelt at a little trading-post half way be-
tween Hudson Bay and the Rocky Mountains. He had
often asked the Indians about the country beyond the
mountain range, but they could tell him little except that
fierce tribes lived there- so fierce that none dared ap-
But Mackenzie, who was an explorer by nature, was not to
be frightened by any unknown tribes. He was determined
to cross the continent. With one great canoe filled with
provisions, he, with a few companions, set forth. Going up
the Slave River, through the lakes, he came at last upon the
river which now bears his name. There, although he knew
it ran north into the region of ice and snow, he launched his
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canoe and floated along, coming out into the open polar sea.
On his way he met everywhere friendly Indians who gave
him food and shelter, and were ready to direct him and give
him such information as they could.
It was a fearful journey through the bitter cold and over
the rough frozen country, but success crowned his efforts,
and in due time Mackenzie and his men stood upon the
shores of the great Pacific.
OU remember the Spaniards had coasted along the
western shore and had set up crosses in the name of
God and their country. Drake, too, of English fame,
had, in spite of the Spanish, skirted the same shores, had
taken possession in the name of the English throne, and had
then merrily sailed away, eluding the Spanish, who were
eagerly lying in wait to seize him on his return.
But nearly a century had elapsed since then, and neither
Spanish nor English had thought it worth while to follow up
Suddenly a new claimant appeared-not from the east,
but from the west. Peter the Great, the Czar of Russia,
always awake to the interests of his country, seeing in the
new world an opportunity for his people as well as for the
English, French, or Spanish, sent out a Captain Behring of
the royal navy. He, sailing out from Kamtschatka, found
open water everywhere, and so settled the separation of the
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On a second voyage he reached the American coast, dis-
covered Mount Saint Elias, and the Aleutian Islands.
Behring's vessel was wrecked on one of these islands, and
he himself died from injuries and exposure. His crew, how-
ever, were able to build a vessel from the wreck which served
to carry them to the Asiatic shore.
As trophies, they brought from the New World skins of
the otter and the fox. These at once aroused in the Russians
an ambition to establish a fur trade. This was carried on at
first merely through roving traders. By and by colonists
from Siberia were carried over; but colonization was not the
Russian forte any more than it had been the Spanish.
There was no opportunity for agriculture in this cold, barren
region, even if they had wished it. These colonists being
merely vassals, and the Indian natives being merely slaves
to these, there was little progress in civilization.
In time the trade passed into the control of on6 company,
and the Russian claim in America was held only as a busi-
ness speculation and was managed as such.
NEXT in rank to Sir Francis Drake as an English navi-
gator, stood Captain James Cook. In the "Seven
Year's War," of which you will hear in other his-
tories, England had wrenched Canada from the French,
and having gained so much, she was seized with an ambition
to gain all. For this purpose vessels were sent to the
North-west coast for the purpose of re-discovering that
which Drake had so long ago taken possession of in the
name of England.
In 1776, while the English colonists on the Atlantic were
rebelling against the tyranny and greed of England, this new
attempt to' extend her territory and her power was made.
Captain James Smith, with Vancouver and Ledyard, set
forth with two vessels for the northern Pacific coast.
They discovered and named the Sandwich Islands. Later
he came upon Cape Flattery, and by and by upon Nootka
Sound, the broad basin about which the Nootka Indians lived.
These were of the same tribe as those Drake had so long
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before made the acquaintance of; and, indeed, Cook found
them friendly as ever and very little changed, except that
they were no longer awe-stricken at the sight of white-faced
people, neither were they at all moved by the roar of cannon
or the glitter of shining armor.
Here he lay by to refit his vessels, and make arrange-
ments for an indefinite voyage into the frozen north. As he
set out from Nootka, unfortunately for his future fame, his
ships were blown far out from shore, so that he passed the
Columbia River without the least suspicion that so great
and important a water-route lay so near at hand.
When Cook came in towards land again, he was far up the
coast within the Russian claims. On he sailed through the
Behring Straits into the Arctic Ocean, until at Icy Cape his
vessels were stopped by ice. While at Nootka, Cook had
traded knives, and beads, and buttons with the natives for
furs. Now, finding that there seemed nothing to be learned
and nothing to be gained in this northern sea, he sailed
back, stopping at Canton to sell his furs. These were found
to be worth, in the fur mart, more than ten thousand
dollars, and this was, perhaps, the beginning of the Canton-
IN England lived an old war veteran who was much given
to studying the maps of the day, and who took great
interest in the discoveries and advances made by all
nations in this new world. In the war between France and
England, he had served in the army, and had become ac-
quainted with the country along the St. Lawrence and the
From studying the maps, from reading the works of
Hennepin, Lahontan and others, he felt sure there must be a
way across the continent, straight on from these Great
Lakes. Even in Hennepin's time, the Indians had said that
far away, at the source of the Missouri, was another river
leading on to the sea.
"If," said Carver, to the English government, "a way
across can be found, we can establish a port upon the Pacific
side. Not only will this prove to be the 'North-west Pas-.
sage,' but it will make communication between Hudson's Bay
and the Pacific so much more direct. More than that, a
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settlement on that side will not only promote useful discov-
eries, but will open a way to China and the English settle-
ments in the East Indies."
This was the first time that the idea of crossing the con-
tinent to get to the far-off India was boldly set forth to the
English government. It was received favorably, and, in due
time, with a party of traders, Carver set forth from the Falls
of St. Anthony.
Carver's movements were very like those of other ex-
plorers, including the sailing up one river and down another,
the usual bartering with the Indians, together with the win-
ter spent in their village. After entering far into the state
of Minnesota, he was unable to advance farther because the
gifts which were to have been sent him with which to bribe
the natives, as they journeyed, did not come. There seemed
nothing to be done but to return. He had accumulated a
vast amount of information.
WITH Cook, in this expedition, was Corporal John
Ledyard. He was a sharp-sighted, quick-witted,
restless, ambitious man, full, like so many others
in his day, of projects and theories concerning the north-
west passage. He was far-sighted enough to know that if
some way for securing the commerce of the north-west coast
could be found, it would be a means of untold wealth to the
nation that should control it.
Ledyard was an American; and although the American
colonies had had quite all they could attend to with their
war with England, he acknowledged no condition that need
interfere with America's setting forth side by side with
other nations in the struggle to secure the prize of this
America was now a free republic. She should take her
place with other nations in this contest. The time would
come when she must hold this western coast--her safety
would demand it -so Ledyard said.
THE GREAT WEST.
Ledyard was persistent. He had but this one idea. He
talked it to everybody. He would talk of nothing else.
"I am dying with anxiety," he said to a friend, "to pene-
trate to the. Pacific coast. There is an immense field for
exploration there. An opportunity for an explorer to win
for himself honest fame, and to bring to the American
nation a wealth and a possession of which they do not
dream. It was well enough that a European should dis-
cover America, but now it is an American that should ex-
plore it; and an American nation that should control it."
In talking with Jefferson, so earnest and impassioned was
Ledyard that Jefferson's interest was aroused. "Why not,"
said he, "go to Russia, cross over to Kamtschatka, then take
some Russian vessel and come over to the Pacific coast.
Then explore inward back to the known part of the
It seems very strange to us that it should ever have been
supposed to be an easy route across the continent to go by
way of Siberia; but it shows how utterly an "unknown
country" the interior of this continent was even as late as
the beginning of this century.
Ledyard eagerly agreed to this; indeed, he would have
agreed to anything, no matter how difficult or how perilous,
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if he could thereby carry out his long-cherished scheme.
Nothing ever came of it, however, for the Russians, seized
with jealous fear, would not allow Ledyard to cross their
country. We hear little after this of this would-be explorer.
He never crossed the continent, and apparently failed wholly
in his plans. But the man who sets the thought in motion
is not to be despised.
In setting forth his theories to Thomas Jefferson, Ledyard
gave that wise man a new idea-a something to think upon.
And Jefferson, long-sighted and wise as he was, soon began
to realize that Ledyard's plans were, indeed, of the greatest
national importance. It was the thought which so soon
began to be the one great ruling idea of American states-
DISCOVERY OF THE COLUMBIA RIVER.
FTER the Revolution, the sleeping commercial am-
bition of the colonies began to awaken.
Said the merchants of Boston, and other Atlantic
ports, "This war has ruined oar commerce We must wake
up We must set forth in search of new ports! Why not
try what can be done with trade between China and our
north-west coast ?"
Accordingly two vessels, the Columbia" and the "Wash-
ington," were fitted out, and the brand-new American flag
set flying from their mast-heads.
These vessels were to go to the north-west coast, barter
for furs with the Indians, then cross to Canton and exchange
the furs for teas for the home market.
The owners of these vessels were far-sighted. Not only
had they an eye to trade, but they saw opportunities for
future establishment along this coast of a company similar
to that of the Hudson Bay Company. With this in view,
the masters of these vessels were instructed to purchase