Views of Louisiana: Together with a Journal of a Voyage up the Missouri River, in 1811

Views of Louisiana: Together with a Journal of a Voyage up the Missouri River, in 1811

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Views of Louisiana: Together with a Journal of a Voyage up the Missouri River, in 1811

Views of Louisiana: Together with a Journal of a Voyage up the Missouri River, in 1811

Read FREE!

Excerpt

The Journal of a Voyage Up The Missouri River, In 1811, which Henry M. Brackenridge first published in 1814 as an addition to his Views Of Louisiana, consisted of "hasty notes," the author tells us, that he had intended to enlarge upon later. Knowledge that the naturalist John Bradbury planned to write about the country and that the Lewis and Clark expedition had collected a great amount of data about it persuaded him to abandon the plan. Instead, he decided to confine himself in the journal chiefly "to such observations on the face of the country, as would give an idea of its capacity for the reception of population." Probably it is Brackenridge's eye for beauty, his awe and wonder at the country through which he passed, that will most strike the modern reader.

Brackenridge, whose father was a prominent jurist and author in Pennsylvania, had studied law and practiced in various cities and towns before arriving for a sojourn in St. Louis. It was in St. Louis that he met Manuel Lisa of the Missouri Fur Company, who suggested that he come along on a voyage up the Missouri River. Brackenridge accepted, explaining apologetically to his readers that his only reason for making the trip was one of "idle curiosity." The expedition left the vicinity of St. Louis in April, 1811, some three weeks after Wilson P. Hunt, acting for John Jacob Astor, had started up the Missouri with a party bound for the Pacific coast. Lisa made every effort to overtake Hunt as rapidly as possible so that they might join forces . . .

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