Page:The Cambridge History of American Literature, v3.djvu/149

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CHAPTER XIV

Travellers and Explorers, 1846-1900

THE central world-belt of human progress up to the present era lies along the fortieth parallel of north latitude with general limits ten degrees on each side. That the region now the United States falls almost entirely within this belt explains the instinctive drift of Europeans westward to, and across, this particular untrodden field. The Anglo-Saxon branch, attaining a dominance of power therein, halted briefly at the obstacle of the Appalachian mountain system, passed that barrier, and marched on its predestined course to the western ocean with a development of accompanying literature described up to 1846 in a former chapter[1]—and continued in this to the year 1900, with a slight extension at each end.

A new order of events developed speedily with the triumph of the Texans over Santa Anna and the creation of the Lone Star Republic in 1841 with its premeditated intention of annexation to the United States. This intention the Mexican Republic declared would be, if consummated, a cause of war, but the movement was not halted. The constant influx of pioneers from the "States" made annexation a foregone conclusion, while books that now appeared like Colonel Edward Stiff's The Texan Emigrant (1840) aided and abetted the prospective addition to the American republic. He offers for a frontispiece a map of Texas which has small consideration for the expansive Texan idea that the new republic s western limits were where the Texan pleased to place them, quite regardless of Mexican contention, for the Colonel draws the


  1. Book II, Chap. I.