Page:The Harvard Classics Vol. 51; Lectures.djvu/400

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390
VOYAGES AND TRAVEL

agriculture, for suitable and fertile soils, must have continued for generations. During the long period in which human civilization has been developing it is clear, moreover, that in the shifting of populations, which has constantly been going on, the same areas have thus been explored again and again, now by this people, now by that. Of these countless travels and travelers, little definite trace of course remains, and it is only with the beginning of the historic period that records of travel become available.

Although of this prehistoric travel we can find no accounts, yet we can gain some idea of its character from observation of the savage and barbarous peoples of the world to-day. Now, as then probably, there are sedentary, stay-at-home peoples, contented to live and die within a narrow horizon, people whose individual radius of travel may in a whole lifetime not exceed a score of miles, and whom neither commerce nor conquest can tempt beyond their own small sphere. Now, as then, there are other peoples in whom the spirit of travel is strong, in whom is a great restlessness, an inborn tendency to wander in quest of food or trade or conquest. The radius of travel of a single individual in such a tribe may, as for example in the case of certain Eskimos, reach as much as a thousand miles. But such extensive wanderings are, on the whole, rare among savage peoples, and we may well admire the courage and skill of those old Polynesian travelers who, according to tradition, dared in their small canoes to push their search for new lands far to the south beyond their sunny seas, until they reached the fogs and drift ice of the Antarctic.


THE MOTIVE OF THE TRUE EXPLORER

Leaving this period of early and unrecorded travel, however, and turning to historic times, two facts force themselves upon our attention, first, that the volume of travel has apparently been constantly increasing, and, second, that the motives which induce men to travel are of many kinds; that there are indeed many sorts of travelers.

First by right comes the true explorer, for whom travel is not a means, but an end in itself. For others religion, commerce, science, may be the goal, the "long trail," with all its beauties, its hardships,