Page:The Cambridge History of American Literature, v3.djvu/152

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Travellers and Explorers, 1846-1900

and some who did refrained from publishing until long after their experiences, as in the case of Osborne Russell, who had a Rocky Mountain career between 1834 and 1843. The Journal of a Trapper from his pen did not appear till 1914, when it was privately printed at Boise, Idaho. These delays were sometimes due to the reluctance of publishers to print the writings of unknown and "unliterary " men.

While the Santa Fé Trail linked the Missouri with the Rio Grande as early as 1822, there was for a long time no overland highway to the Oregon country, the usual route being up the Missouri first by keelboat and then by steamboat. Audubon travelled that course in 1843 in the steamer Omega as far as Fort Union, and he kept a full journal. This was mislaid and fifty years elapsed before it was given to the world in Audubon and his Journals by his granddaughter, Maria R. Audubon. His son, John Woodhouse Audubon, in 1849-50 made a journey from New York to Texas and thence overland through Mexico and Arizona to the gold fields of California, which is recorded in John W. Audubon's Western Journal (1906), edited by Frank H. Hodder.

The literature connected with the route up the Missouri River is voluminous and it is vital to the historical annals of the West. A great deal of it falls before 1846. H. M. Chittenden gives a History of Early Steamboat Navigation of the Missouri River. Life and Adventures of Joseph La Barge, Pioneer Navigator and Indian Trader (1903); and with this title may be coupled an important paper on the subject read by Phil. E. Chappel before the Kansas State Historical Society (1904) and printed in the Society's Publications (vol. ix), with the title "A History of the Missouri River." He writes from personal knowledge and adds a list of the steamboats.

A change was coming in this direction. Notwithstanding the phenomenal scepticism as to the value of Oregon displayed in Congress, the "common people" were learning by word of mouth from trappers and explorers that good homes were to be had there for the taking. They saw a vision of being land owners—a vision that became a life-preserver amid the discomfort, danger, and disaster which befell a large proportion of them in the journey to the land of promise. Presently, from the same Independence that saw the wagon track vanish south--