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Introductory Notice WHILE ENGAGED in writing an account of the grand enterprise of Astoria, it was my practice to seek all kinds of oral information connected with the subject. Nowhere did I pick up more interesting particulars than at the table of Mr. John Jacob Astor; who, being the patriarch of the fur trade in the United States, was accustomed to have at his board various persons of adventurous turn, some of whom had been engaged in his own... more...

CHAPTER I. Geographical sketch of California Its political and social institutions Colorado River Valley and river of San Joaquin Former government Presidios Missions Ports and commerce. For the general information of the reader, it will be proper to give a brief geographical sketch of California, and some account of its political and social institutions, as they have heretofore existed. The district of country known... more...

MY FIRST VISIT, DAY THE FIRST It was a fine October evening when I was sitting on the back stoop of his cheerful little bachelor's establishment in Mercer street, with my old friend and comrade, Henry Archer. Many a frown of fortune had we two weathered out together; in many of her brightest smiles had we two reveled--never was there a stauncher friend, a merrier companion, a keener sportsman, or a better fellow, than this said Harry; and here... more...

CHAPTER I. DEPARTURE FROM FRANCE TO RETURN TO NEW FRANCE.—THE DANGERS AND OTHER EVENTS WHICH OCCURRED UP TO THE TIME OF ARRIVAL AT THE SETTLEMENT. We set out from Honfleur on the first day of March. The wind was favorable until the eighth, when we were opposed by a wind south-southwest and west-northwest, driving us as far as latitude 42°, without our being able to make a southing, so as to sail straight forward on our course.... more...

CHAPTER I. THE BENEFITS OF COMMERCE HAVE INDUCED SEVERAL PRINCES TO SEEK AN EASIER ROUTE FOR TRAFFIC WITH THE PEOPLE OF THE EAST.—SEVERAL UNSUCCESSFUL VOYAGES.—DETERMINATION OF THE FRENCH FOR THIS PURPOSE.—UNDERTAKING OF SIEUR DE MONTS: HIS COMMISSION AND ITS REVOCATION.—NEW COMMISSION TO SIEUR DE MONTS TO ENABLE HIM TO CONTINUE HIS UNDERTAKING. The inclinations of men differ according to their varied dispositions; and... more...


CHAPTER I. PARENTAGE—BIRTH—HOME AT BROUAGE—ITS SITUATION—A MILITARY STATION—ITS SALT WORKS—HIS EDUCATION—EARLY LOVE OF THE SEA—QUARTER-MASTER IN BRITTANY—CATHOLICS AND HUGUENOTS—CATHERINE DE MEDICIS—THE LEAGUE—DUKE DE MERCOEUR—MARSHAL D'AUMONT—DE SAINT LUC—MARSHAL DE BRISSAC—PEACE OF VERVINS Champlain was descended from an ancestry whose names are... more...

CHAPTER IX. FROM NORFOLK TO CAPE HATTERAS. THE ELIZABETH RIVER. — THE CANAL. — NORTH LANDING RIVER. — CURRITUCK SOUND. — ROANOKE ISLAND. — VISIT TO BODY ISLAND LIGHT-HOUSE. — A ROMANCE OF HISTORY. — PAMPLICO SOUND. — THE PAPER CANOE ARRIVES AT CAPE HATTERAS. On Saturday morning, December 5, I left the pier of the Old Dominion Steamship Company, at Norfolk, Virginia, and, rowing across the water... more...

CHAPTER I. GERMANY AND THE ARMY The stalwart men of the Prussian army, the Lancers, the Dragoons, the Hussars, the clank of their sabres on the pavements, their brilliant uniforms, all made an impression upon my romantic mind, and I listened eagerly, in the quiet evenings, to tales of Hanover under King George, to stories of battles lost, and the entry of the Prussians into the old Residenz-stadt; the flight of the King, and the sorrow and... more...

NORTH AMERICA. This division of the great western continent is more than five thousand miles in length; and, in some latitudes, is four thousand miles wide. It was originally discovered by Europeans, about the conclusion of the fifteenth century; and, a few years afterwards, a party of Spanish adventurers obtained possession of some of the southern districts. The inhabitants of these they treated like wild animals, who had no property in the... more...

THE WESTERN TRAIL “An overland highway to the Western sea” was the thought variously expressed by many men in both public and private life among the French, English, and Americans from very early times. In 1659 Pierre Radisson and a companion, by way of the Great Lakes, Fox, and “Ouisconsing” Rivers, discovered the “east fork” of the “Great River” and crossed to the “west fork,” up... more...