Early Western Travels, 1748-1846 comprises thirty-one volumes which contain accurate reprints of rare manuscripts. They were carefully chosen from the mass of material descriptive of travels in the North American interior which this century of continental expansion (1748-1846) provided, and no manuscript has been included unless it possessed permanent historical value. The result is a series which the casual reader will find interesting, and the historian, teacher and scholar, will find invaluable, as it makes available sources of information without which the development of the West, its history and its people cannot be fully understood. The editor has provided numerous footnotes and an introduction to each volume which contains a biographical sketch of the author, an evaluation of the book reprinted and bibliographical data concerning it. The closing volumes are devoted to a complete and exhaustive analytical index to the entire series.
From the mouth of the Verdigris, in its day the farthest thrust of the pioneer, the conquest of a large part of the Southwest was achieved. The story of this campaign covering a period of nearly fifty years, has never been written, though it contains much of romance that even in the form of isolated or related incidents, it is possible to record. The Louisiana Purchase itself was romance. In 1803 President Jefferson directed Monroe and Livingston to negotiate for the purchase of New Orleans for the United States, and they brought home title to an empire, practically a donation from France.
There is no accurate measure of the number of shipwrecks along the South Atlantic Coast and the Gulf of Mexico, but the number must be in the hundreds or even over a thousand. Also not known is how many shipwrecked sailors and passengers survived in North America during the 1500’s and 1600’s, or how many Sephardic Jews, Muslim Moors and European Protestants, escaping the Spanish Inquisition, landed on the shores of the present day Southeastern United States. Surviving archives, however, do furnish credible evidence of these peoples settling in the interior of the Southeast, while officially England was only colonizing the coastal regions.