Pathfinders of the West eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 313 pages of information about Pathfinders of the West.
of heroes who carved empire out of wilderness; and all alike possessed the same hero-qualities—­courage and endurance that were indomitable, the strength that is generated in life-and-death grapple with naked primordial reality, and that reckless daring which defies life and death.  Those were hero-days; and they produced hero-types, who flung themselves against the impossible—­and conquered it.  What they conquered we have inherited.  It is the Great Northwest.

[Illustration:  Indians of the Up-country or Pays d’en Haut.]

[1] Mention of this man is to be found in Northwest Company manuscripts, lately sold in the Masson collection of documents to the Canadian Archives and McGill College Library.  It was also my good fortune—­while this book was going to print—­to see the entire family collection of Clark’s letters, owned by Mrs. Julia Clark Voorhis of New York.  Among these letters is one to Chaboneau from Clark.  In spite of the cordial relations between the Nor’westers and Lewis and Clark, these fur traders cannot conceal their fear that this trip presages the end of the fur trade.


For the very excellent translations of the almost untranslatable transcripts taken from the Marine Archives of Paris, and forwarded to me by the Canadian Archives, I am indebted to Mr. R. Roy, of the Marine Department, Ottawa, the eminent authority on French Canadian genealogical matters.

Some of the topics in the Appendices are of such a controversial nature—­the whereabouts of the Mascoutins, for instance—­that at my request Mr. Roy made the translation absolutely literal no matter how incongruous the wording.  To those who say Radisson was not on the Missouri I commend Appendix E, where the tribes of the West are described.




I have received the two letters with which you have honored me; I have even received one inclosed that I have not given, for reasons that I will tell you, God willing, in a few days.

I have received your instructions contained in the one and the other, as to the way I should act, and I should not have failed to execute all that you order me for the service of our Master, if I had been at full liberty so to do; you must have no doubt about it, because my inclination and my duty agree perfectly well.  All the advantages that I am offered did not for a moment cause me to waver, but, in short, sir, I could not go to Paris, and I shall be happy to go and meet you by the route you travel.  I shall be well pleased to find landed the people you state will be there; in case they may have the commission you speak of in your two letters, have it accompanied if you please with a memorandum of what I shall have to do for the service of our Master.  I know of a case whereby I am sufficiently taught that it is not safe to undertake too many things, however advantageous they may be, nor undertaking too little.  I am convinced, sir, that having orders, I will carry them out at the risk of my life, and I flatter myself that you do not doubt it.

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Pathfinders of the West from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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