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in one of the craft for transportation to the other side, and she said of it: “The Cannoo was very small and shallow, which greatly terrify'd me and caused me to be very circumspect, sitting with my hands fast on each side, my eyes steady, not daring so much as to lodge my tongue a hair's breadth more on one side of my mouth than t'other. A very thought would have oversett our wherry.”
It is the little incidents like these — little bits from the actual experiences of those distant times — which best reveal the travel conditions that then prevailed. But such records are, unfortunately, all too rare. It usually happens in searching through the narratives of early travellers, no matter in what form they may be found, that the record tells of leaving a certain place on a certain day and of reaching another place in the course of time, but nothing else. Of the adventures and conditions encountered, the expedients and methods used during the journey there are few details given, or none at all.
ANOTHER ELEMENT IN THE PROBLEM EARLY CONDITIONS
PROFOUNDLY INFLUENCED BY THE NATIVE INHABI-
- TREATMENT OF EACH RACE BY THE OTHER - A CENTURY AND A HALF OF CONFLICT BLOCKHOUSES
EFFECT OF EUROPEAN POLITICS AND INTERCOLONIAL JEALOUSIES FIRST SYMPTOMS OF THE IMPENDING WESTWARD MOVEMENT APPEAR THE DOMINATION OF THE WHITE RACE INEVITABLE
HUS far, while tracing the earliest growth of a
system of internal communications destined to develop from such crude beginnings into the most extensive and valuable series of public works ever constructed by men, whose relation to the national life has finally become one of the principal social and industrial problems at present existing, it has only been necessary to consider the primitive needs of our forefathers and the first devices created or adapted to meet those necessities.
But the growth of the white man's travel system in America and his subjugation of the continent by its use was, in its first stages, a matter of somewhat more complexity than has as yet been suggested. Progress in the early days did not depend solely on the creation and extension of thoroughfares and the successive introduction of new and better types of vehicles. There was yet another element in the problem, one that exerted a strong and at times decisive influence for generations. That factor was the Indian. And since no complete picture of the white man's aspiration for movement and of the travel conditions that existed until comparatively recent days can be drawn without introducing the native occupants and original owners of the territory involved, it is well to turn for a time from the primary question of routes and vehicles in order to observe why - and to what degree — the population movements of early times were influenced by the white man's copper-colored antagonist.
The Indians of the eastern part of the continent, when the first permanent white men's settlements made in that region, had seemingly occupied the land, unaffected by any outside or visiting influence of importance, for several thousands of years. They had perhaps been here, slowly ascending from a very primitive level, since that period when mastodons were common, when Niagara Falls did not exist,” and possibly even since the time when Lakes Erie and Ontario, as one body of water, had their drainage westwardly through the Wabash River, thence into the Ohio and the Mississippi. Collectively these native Americans had held undisputed possession of the continent, and with the lapse of many centuries the various tribes into which the race had broken up had acquired, in a certain sense, recognized title to the territories they severally held. Such titles were not the precise recorded legal instruments of white civilization, but were established or altered by occupation, treaties and strength of arms, and were maintained by coöperative action based on tribal government or by the still more powerful joint action of federations of tribes. Regions so held were sometimes roughly bounded by natural lines such as mountains, lakes, or conspicuous landmarks, and — howsoever delimited — the adjoining tribes, save in time of war, respected the territorial rights or pretensions of their neighbors. Sometimes a region was made neutral by the tacit or formal agreement of many tribes and used by them for a common purpose, such as hunting. The lands lying in the present state of Kentucky were an uninhabited territory, so rich in game that no tribe was allowed their exclusive control. In short, the use, dominion over and occupancy of land and favorable locations was a subject on which the Indians placed a high importance.
1 About seven thousand to ten thousand years ago.
Themselves accustomed to great distances and long journeys, the Indians had, as has been suggested, an unerring appreciation of the importance of good lines of communication and the best and easiest travel routes. The strongest and most influential tribes and confederations lived on or near important rivers, bays or lakes, or in territory that offered the easiest means of subsistence and travel. The Indians were economic strategists. When the white men came they found the natives were established in those localities that seemed most desirable for white settlement. The red men had already seen the advantages of such locations as Delaware and Chesapeake Bays, the Delaware, Susquehanna and Potomac Rivers, New York harbor, the Hudson and Connecticut Rivers, Massachusetts Bay,' and the easily traversed route, through what is now New York state, from the upper Hudson to the westward by way of the Great Lakes. This last mentioned region was occupied by the most powerful and best organized group of Indians in eastern North America, the League of the Iroquois, a confederation,
19.—A horse-barrow. Crude home-made barrows, carts and wagons slowly
developed, outside the towns, wherever conditions made them useful. Thereafter they showed but slight improvement for more than a century. The wheels of many barrows and carts consisted of solid sections of tree trunks, and were from six to twelve inches in width. Original sketch by the early American artist, Joshua Shaw. One of eleven recently found drawings by the same artist, reproduced in these pages and depicting conditions of pioneer life and travel.
at that time, of five strong tribes whose common affairs were administered by a central council made up of delegates from each.
The first human quality which seriously affected intercourse between the natives and the white strangers was covetousness. The newcomers wanted—and determined to possess—those choice territorial tidbits which the
1 Modern names for these localities are used, instead of those given by the natives or early explorers, in order that they may be more quickly identified. The native name for the Connecticut River, for instance, was "Quinni.tukq-ut," or "Quoneh-ta-cut," and the Dutch called it “De Versche Riviere."