Books Should Be Free is now
Loyal Books
Free Public Domain Audiobooks & eBook Downloads
Search by: Title, Author or Keyword

The Paths of Inland Commerce; a chronicle of trail, road, and waterway   By: (1873-1933)

Book cover

First Page:

THE PATHS OF INLAND COMMERCE,

A CHRONICLE OF TRAIL, ROAD, AND WATERWAY

By Archer B. Hulbert

PREFACE

If the great American novel is ever written, I hazard the guess that its plot will be woven around the theme of American transportation, for that has been the vital factor in the national development of the United States. Every problem in the building of the Republic has been, in the last analysis, a problem in transportation. The author of such a novel will find a rich fund of material in the perpetual rivalries of pack horseman and wagoner, of riverman and canal boatman, of steamboat promoter and railway capitalist. He will find at every point the old jostling and challenging; the new pack horsemen demolishing wagons in the early days of the Alleghany traffic; wagoners deriding Clinton's Ditch; angry boatmen anxious to ram the paddle wheels of Fulton's Clermont, which threatened their monopoly. Such opposition has always been an incident of progress; and even in this new country, receptive as it was to new ideas, the Washingtons, the Fitches, the Fultons, the Coopers, and the Whitneys, who saw visions and dreamed dreams, all had to face scepticism and hostility from those whom they would serve.

A. B. H.

Worcester, Mass., June, 1919.

CONTENTS

I. THE MAN WHO CAUGHT THE VISION II. THE RED MAN'S TRAIL III. THE MASTERY OF THE RIVERS IV. A NATION ON WHEELS V. THE FLATBOAT AGE VI. THE PASSING SHOW OF 1800 VII. THE BIRTH OF THE STEAMBOAT VIII. THE CONQUEST OF THE ALLEGHANIES IX. THE DAWN OF THE IRON AGE X. THE PATHWAY OF THE LAKES XI. THE STEAMBOAT AND THE WEST

BIBLIOGRAPHICAL NOTE

THE PATHS OF INLAND COMMERCE

CHAPTER I. The Man Who Caught The Vision

Inland America, at the birth of the Republic, was as great a mystery to the average dweller on the Atlantic seaboard as the elephant was to the blind men of Hindustan. The reports of those who had penetrated this wilderness of those who had seen the barren ranges of the Alleghanies, the fertile uplands of the Unakas, the luxuriant blue grass regions, the rich bottom lands of the Ohio and Mississippi, the wide shores of the inland seas, or the stretches of prairie increasing in width beyond the Wabash seemed strangely contradictory, and no one had been able to patch these reports together and grasp the real proportions of the giant inland empire that had become a part of the United States. It was a pathless desert; it was a maze of trails, trodden out by deer, buffalo, and Indian. Its great riverways were broad avenues for voyagers and explorers; they were treacherous gorges filled with the plunder of a million floods. It was a rich soil, a land of plenty; the natives were seldom more than a day removed from starvation. Within its broad confines could dwell a great people; but it was as inaccessible as the interior of China. It had a great commercial future; yet its gigantic distances and natural obstructions defied all known means of transportation.

Such were the varied and contradictory stories told by the men who had entered the portals of inland America. It is not surprising, therefore, that theories and prophecies about the interior were vague and conflicting nor that most of the schemes of statesmen and financiers for the development of the West were all parts and no whole. They all agreed as to the vast richness of that inland realm and took for granted an immense commerce therein that was certain to yield enormous profits. In faraway Paris, the ingenious diplomat, Silas Deane, writing to the Secret Committee of Congress in 1776, pictured the Old Northwest bounded by the Ohio, the Alleghanies, the Great Lakes, and the Mississippi as paying the whole expense of the Revolutionary War. Thomas Paine in 1780 drew specifications for a State of from twenty to thirty millions of acres lying west of Virginia and south of the Ohio River, the sale of which land would pay the cost of three years of the war... Continue reading book >>




eBook Downloads
ePUB eBook
• iBooks for iPhone and iPad
• Nook
• Sony Reader
Kindle eBook
• Mobi file format for Kindle
Read eBook
• Load eBook in browser
Text File eBook
• Computers
• Windows
• Mac

Review this book



Popular Genres
More Genres
Languages
Paid Books