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Great Epochs in American History, Volume I. Voyages Of Discovery And Early Explorations: 1000 A.D.-1682   By:

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GREAT EPOCHS IN AMERICAN HISTORY

DESCRIBED BY FAMOUS WRITERS FROM COLUMBUS TO WILSON

Edited, with Introductions and Explanatory Notes

By FRANCIS W. HALSEY

Associate Editor of "The World's Famous Orations"; Associate Editor of "The Best of the World's Classics"; author of "The Old New York Frontier"; Editor of "Seeing Europe With Famous Authors"

IN TEN VOLUMES

ILLUSTRATED

VOL. I

VOYAGES OF DISCOVERY AND EARLY EXPLORATIONS: 1000 A.D. 1682

COPYRIGHT, 1912 AND 1916, by

FUNK & WAGNALLS COMPANY

[ Printed in the United States of America ]

[Transcriber's Note: This text retains original spellings.]

PREFACE

In these ten volumes the aim has been to present striking accounts of ten great epochs in the history of the United States, from the landing of Columbus to the building of the Panama Canal. In large part, events composing each epoch are described by men who participated in them, or were personal eye witnesses of them.

Columbus, for example, described his own first voyage; Washington, the defeat of Braddock; Gen. "Sam" Houston the battle of San Jacinto; General Robert E. Lee, the capture of John Brown at Harper's Ferry; Murat Halstead, the nomination of Lincoln; Jefferson Davis, the evacuation of Richmond, and his own arrest in Georgia by Federal troops; Mrs. James Chesnut, wife of the Confederate general, the firing on Fort Sumter; Edmund Clarence Stedman, the retreat from Bull Run; Gen. James Longstreet, Pickett's charge at Gettysburg; General Sheridan, Sheridan's ride to Winchester; James G. Blaine, the funeral of Lincoln; Cyrus W. Field, the laying of the Atlantic cable; Horace White, the great Chicago fire; William Jennings Bryan, the first Bryan campaign; Admiral Dewey, the battle of Manila Bay, and Admiral Peary, the finding of the North Pole.

These accounts are often supplemented by passages from the writings of historians and biographers, including George Bancroft, Washington Irving, Francis Parkman, Richard Hildreth, William E.H. Lecky, James Schouler, and John Fiske; or from those of statesmen, journalists and publicists, among them, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Thomas H. Benton, Robert Toombs, Horace Greeley, "Bull Run" Russell, Carl Schurz, and Theodore Roosevelt.

The tables of contents prefixt to the several volumes, or the index appended to the last, will show how wide is the range of topics. The events described have been of vital, and often of transcendant, importance to this country and Europe. The writers will be found interesting as authorities, and are often supremely competent, alike as authorities and writers. The work is believed to present American history in a form that will appeal to readers for its authenticity and its novelty.

Francis W. Halsey.

INTRODUCTION

( Voyages of Discovery and Early Explorations. )

Schoolboys have been taught from their earliest years that Columbus discovered America. Few events in prehistoric times seem more probable now than that Columbus was not the first to discover it. The importance of his achievement over that of others lay in his own faith in his success, in his definiteness of purpose, and in the fact that he awakened in Europe an interest in the discovery that led to further explorations, disclosing a new continent and ending in permanent settlements.

The earliest voyages to America, made probably from Asia, led to settlements, but they remained unknown ever afterward to all save the settlers themselves, while those from Europe led to settlements that were either soon abandoned or otherwise came to nought. Wandering Tatar, Chinese, Japanese, Malay, or Polynesian sailors who drifted, intentionally or accidentally, to the Pacific coast in some unrecorded and prehistoric past, and from whom the men we call our aborigines probably are descended, sent back to Asia no tidings of what they had found. Their discovery, in so far as it concerned the people of the Old World, remained as if it had never been.

The hardy Northmen of the Viking age, who, like John Smith, six hundred years afterward, found in Vinland "a pleasant land to see," understood so little of the importance of what they had found, that, by the next century, their discovery had virtually been forgotten in all Scandinavia... Continue reading book >>




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