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Pathfinders of the West Being the Thrilling Story of the Adventures of the Men Who Discovered the Great Northwest: Radisson, La Vérendrye, Lewis and Clark   By: (1871-1936)

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[Frontispiece: Stealing from the Fort by Night.]

Pathfinders of the West

BEING

THE THRILLING STORY OF THE ADVENTURES

OF THE MEN WHO DISCOVERED THE GREAT NORTHWEST

RADISSON, LA VÉRENDRYE, LEWIS AND CLARK

BY

A. C. LAUT

AUTHOR OF "LORDS OF THE NORTH," "HERALDS OF EMPIRE," "STORY OF THE TRAPPER"

ILLUSTRATIONS BY

REMINGTON, GOODWIN, MARCHAND

AND OTHERS

NEW YORK

GROSSET & DUNLAP

PUBLISHERS

COPYRIGHT, 1904,

By THE MACMILLAN COMPANY.

Set up and electrotyped. Published November, 1904. Reprinted February, 1906.

WILDWOOD PLACE, WASSAIC, N.Y.

August 15, 1904.

DEAR MR. SULTE:

A few years ago, when I was a resident of the Far West and tried to trace the paths of early explorers, I found that all authorities first, second, and third rate alike referred to one source of information for their facts. The name in the tell tale footnote was invariably your own.

While I assume all responsibility for upsetting the apple cart of established opinions by this book, will you permit me to dedicate it to you as a slight token of esteem to the greatest living French Canadian historian, from whom we have all borrowed and to whom few of us have rendered the tribute due?

Faithfully,

AGNES C. LAUT.

MR. BENJAMIN SULTE, PRESIDENT ROYAL SOCIETY, OTTAWA, CANADA.

THE GREAT NORTHWEST

I love thee, O thou great, wild, rugged land Of fenceless field and snowy mountain height, Uprearing crests all starry diademed Above the silver clouds! A sea of light Swims o'er thy prairies, shimmering to the sight A rolling world of glossy yellow wheat That runs before the wind in billows bright As waves beneath the beat of unseen feet, And ripples far as eye can see as far and fleet!

Here's chances for every man! The hands that work Become the hands that rule! Thy harvests yield Only to him who toils; and hands that shirk Must empty go! And here the hands that wield The sceptre work! O glorious golden field! O bounteous, plenteous land of poet's dream! O'er thy broad plain the cloudless sun ne'er wheeled But some dull heart was brightened by its gleam To seize on hope and realize life's highest dream!

Thy roaring tempests sweep from out the north Ten thousand cohorts on the wind's wild mane No hand can check thy frost steeds bursting forth To gambol madly on the storm swept plain! Thy hissing snow drifts wreathe their serpent train, With stormy laughter shrieks the joy of might Or lifts, or falls, or wails upon the wane Thy tempests sweep their stormy trail of white Across the deepening drifts and man must die, or fight!

Yes, man must sink or fight, be strong or die! That is thy law, O great, free, strenuous West! The weak thou wilt make strong till he defy Thy bufferings; but spacious prairie breast Will never nourish weakling as its guest! He must grow strong or die! Thou givest all An equal chance to work, to do their best Free land, free hand thy son must work or fall Grow strong or die! That message shrieks the storm wind's call!

And so I love thee, great, free, rugged land Of cloudless summer days, with west wind croon, And prairie flowers all dewy diademed, And twilights long, with blood red, low hung moon And mountain peaks that glisten white each noon Through purple haze that veils the western sky And well I know the meadow lark's far rune As up and down he lilts and circles high And sings sheer joy be strong, be free; be strong or die!

Foreword

The question will at once occur why no mention is made of Marquette and Jolliet and La Salle in a work on the pathfinders of the West. The simple answer is they were not pathfinders. Contrary to the notions imbibed at school, and repeated in all histories of the West, Marquette, Jolliet, and La Salle did not discover the vast region beyond the Great Lakes. Twelve years before these explorers had thought of visiting the land which the French hunter designated as the Pays d'en Haut , the West had already been discovered by the most intrepid voyageurs that France produced, men whose wide ranging explorations exceeded the achievements of Cartier and Champlain and La Salle put together... Continue reading book >>




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