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Champlain’s Expedition of 1615 Against the Onondaga

In the year 1615, there dwelt on the south-eastern shore of Lake Huron, between Lake Simcoe and the Georgian Bay, a nation of Indians who were called in their own language, “Wendats” or “Wyandot,” and by the French ” Huron.” There is no record of their having been visited by the white man prior to the above date. In the same year, the Sieur de Champlain, the Father of French Colonization in America, who had entered the St. Lawrence in 1603 and founded Quebec five years later, ascended the river Ottawa as far as the Huron country-Le Caron, the Franciscan, having preceded him by a few days only. These adventurous pioneers were seeking, in their respective spheres, and by concurrent enterprises, the one to explore the western portions of New France, and the other to establish missions among the North American Indians.

The Authenticity and Accuracy of Champlain’s 1632 Map

In order to account for the many manifest discrepancies between Champlain’s text of 1619 and the map annexed to the edition of 1632, I suggested that the map and the latter edition were not the work of Champlain and never passed under his personal supervision. I gave my reasons for this opinion on pages 5 and 6, vol. I, of this magazine. Dr. Shea replies to this, ” the map is evidently Champlain’s, and he was too good a hydrographer for us to reject his map as a guide for parts he actually visited.” This, however, is assuming the authenticity of the map, the very point in issue, without noticing the objections I advanced. If the map were actually constructed by Champlain, it is of course competent evidence, without however being conclusive where it differs from the text. It is not possible, however, to reconcile the two. Where they disagree, one or the other must yield, and in accordance with well-settled rules of evidence, the text must govern. The most competent critics, who have examined the edition of 1632, to which alone the map is annexed, including Laverdière, Margry and Harrisse, agree that it bears internal evidence of having been compiled, by a foreign hand, from the various editions previously published. No map accompanied the original narrative of the expedition, published in 1619. I claim that by inspection and comparison with reliable topographical maps of the country traversed by Champlain, no ingenuity can torture the dotted line on the chart into an accurate representation of the route he pursued, as described in his text. The discrepancies will be indicated,...

Wrangell’s Trip Through the Russian River Valley

In the summer of 1830, Ferdinand P. Von Wrangell made a long and difficult journey across Siberia accompanied by his wife and infant daughter, to cross the North Pacific to New Archangel (Sitka). This was Von Wrangell’s third visit to Russian-America. In 1836 he returned to Russia by way of Mexico. He tried unsuccessfully to negotiate and enlargement of Russian possessions in California. He visited the tribes of Northern California during this trip.

Montana Settlement, Geology, Exploration, 1728-1862

Montana, mountainous or full of mountains1 is a name, as herein used, no less beautiful than significant. From the summit of its loftiest peak – Mount Hayden – may be seen within a day’s ride of each other the sources of the three great arteries of the territory owned by the United States – the Missouri, the Colorado, and the Columbia. From the springs on either side of the range on whose flanks Montana lies flow the floods that mingle with the North Pacific Ocean, the Gulf of California, and the Gulf of Mexico. The Missouri is 4,600 miles in length, the Columbia over 1,200, and the Colorado a little short of 1,000; yet out of the springs that give them rise the Montana may drink the same day. Nay, more: there is a spot where, as the rainfalls, drops descending together, only an inch asunder perhaps, on striking the ground part company, one wending its long, adventurous way to the Atlantic, while the other bravely strikes out for the Pacific. These rivers, with their great and numerous branches, are to the land what the arteries and veins are to the animal organism, and whoso action is controlled by the heart; hence this spot may be aptly termed the heart of the continent. From New Orleans to the falls of the Missouri there is no obstacle to navigation. Wonderful river! Could we stand on Mount Hayden, we should see at first nothing but a chaos of mountains, whose confused features are softened by vast undulating masses of forest; then would come out of the chaos stretches of grassy plains,...
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