The Romance of American Geography

by William A. Quayle

In traveling over the undulating prairies of many States of the Union, huge granite boulders are seen lying solitary, as if dropped by some passing cloud, having no kindred in the rocky formations environing, but being absolute foreigners in a strange land. There they lie, prone, chiseled by some forgotten art, and so solitary as to bring a tinge of melancholy to the reflection of the thoughtful. In certain regions these boulders are so numerous and so various in size as to be used in building foundations, and sometimes entire habitations. These rocks were dropped in remote centuries by passing icebergs, and are solitary memorials of the ice-drift across our continent. The crafts on which they voyaged were wrecked long ago. They were passengers on

  "Some shattered berg, that, pale and lone,
  Drifts from the white north to the tropic zone,
      And in the burning day
      Melts peak by peak away,
      Till on some rosy even
    It dies, with sunlight blessing it."

This instance may be taken as a parable, suggesting the history embodied in names of localities, lakes, straits, rivers, cities, hamlets, States. Those names are the débris of a dead era; and for one, I can not escape the wonder and the pathos of these shattered yesterdays, which have a voice, calling, as in hoarse whispers sad with tears, "We are not, but we were."

Though we are little given to so esteeming the study, there is romance in geography, learned by us when lads and lasses—not because we would, but because we must—and such study was difficult and unsavory. The catalogue of names we learned, perforce, was dreary as the alphabet; and not a memory of pleasure lingers about the book in which we studied, save that, in cramped, sprawling hand, upon the margin is written the name of some little sweetheart beside our own,—and dead long since. No, geography was not romantic. That was a possession we never suspected. But romance is ubiquitous, like flowers of spring, sheltering where we little anticipate.

To a lover of history, however, few studies will prove so fascinating as a study of names in geography. Finding a few at random, feel the thrill of the history they embody—history and reminiscence: Providence, Roger Williams named the city so when himself was a refugee; Fort Wayne, named for General "Mad Anthony" Wayne, who destroyed the Indian scourge in the Northwest Territory in 1792; Raleigh, so yclept for that chiefest friend of American colonization among Englishmen, Sir Walter Raleigh; Council Grove, because, in the Indian days, there, in a grove—rare in the prairie country of Kansas—the Red Men met for counsel; Astoria, bearing name of that famous fortune-maker in the fur country of the West and North; Buffalo Lake, reminding us that there the buffalo tramped in days seeming now so remote, when the buffalo rode, like a mad cavalry troop, across the wide interior plains of our continent; Eagle River, for here this royal bird used to love to linger as if it were his native stream. These are the scattered, miscellaneous reminiscences of men and acts, and things and achievements. In Kansas is a village called Lane, a name which, to the old settler in Kansas, is big with meaning, seeing it brings to life one of the strange, romantic, contradictory, and brilliant characters of the "Squatter Sovereignty" days, when Jim Lane wrought, with his weird and wonderful eloquence, his journeys oft, and his tireless industry, in championing the cause of State freedom. Him and his history, reading like a tale told by a campfire's fitful light, this name embodies. What an archive of history does such a name become! Portage is a name pregnant with memories of the old days of discovery, when America was still an unknown limit. "Grand Portage" you shall see on the map, neighboring the Great Lakes, whereby you see, as through a magic glass, the boats, loaded on the shoulders when navigation was no longer possible, and the journey made over the watershed till a stream was followed far enough to float the birch-bark canoe once more. Prairie is another word full of interest. Pampas is a word, Peruvian in origin, designating the prairies of South America; while prairie is a French word, meaning meadow. Pampas is the Peruvian word for field. The words are synonyms, but come from different hemispheres of the world. Does it not seem strange that a word descriptive of these treeless wildernesses of North America should be a gift, not of the Indian hunter who used to scurry across them swift as an arrow of death, but should really be the gift of those hardy and valorous French voyagers who had no purpose of fastening a name on the flower-sown, green meadows that swayed in the wind like some emerald sea? So the Incas have christened the plains of South America, and the French adventurer the plains of North America! Though, who that crosses our prairies, sweet with green, and lit with flowers like lamps of many-colored fires, thinks he is speaking the speech of the French trapper of long ago? Savannah is an Indian word, meaning meadow, and gives name to these dank meadowlands under warmer skies, where reeds and swamp-grasses grow; and the name of Savannah in Georgia is thus bestowed. How much we owe! Who has not helped us? Nor does the traveler through the castellated steeps of the "Bad Lands" know, nor probably does he care, that this caption came from the far-traveling French trapper, whose venturesome and tireless feet have made him at home in all places on our continent. How valuable, however, must be these names to one who cares to familiarize himself with the knowledge and romance of those pioneers of geography! Of like origin is "butte." The voyager saw those isolated peaks, too high to be called hills and too low to be called mountains, and said they are buttes (knolls)—names which cling to them as tenaciously as their shadows.

In a word, I have found this study a breath blown from far mountain ranges of history; and this breath upon the face has made an hour of life grow young and beautiful, for which reason I now write the story of my pleasure. The North American continent lends itself with peculiar grace to such a study as is here suggested, because its story lies under the eyes of history. 'Twas scarcely an hour ago, in the world's day, since Columbus found out this continent, and, with a giant's hand, swung its huge doors inward for the centuries to enter; and all those discoveries are our commonplace knowledge. What tribes were here, Prescott and Parkman have told us in thrilling narratives; and columns of eager colonists we have seen press their way along the seashore, into forests, over mountains, across deserts, never halting, save to catch breath as a climber of a mountain does,—on, on, till a continent is white with the tents of millions. But the Indian aborigine, for whom the tepee was portable habitation, and the stretch of plain and hill and lake and river, hunting-ground or battle-ground,—the Indian is mainly the reminiscence of an old man's straggling speech; and these names he has left, clinging to lake and river and hamlet, are his memorial. In Montezuma's empire, where once a barbaric splendor held court and set in tragic splendor, lurid even yet at these centuries' remove, what is left save a vocabulary or a broken idol lying black and foreboding in some mountain stream? Or those discoverers whose adventurous deeds are part of the world's chosen treasure, what but their names are written on the streams or hills? The import of these observations is this, that from American geography we may, with reasonable accuracy and detail, decipher this romantic history. In those newer parts of our continent names have too often lost the flavor of history; have, in truth, done so, save in isolated instances. The "Smithtons" and "Griggsby Stations" are monotonous and uninteresting, and the Tombstones are little short of sacrilege. In the crush of movers' wagons there appeared to be a scramble for names of any sort. Places multiply, imagination is asleep, and names nearest at hand are most readily laid hold of; yet, even in such a dearth of originality and poetry, scant names flash out which remind you of the morning names in our continent's history. A Springdale reminds you that colonists here found a dale, gladdened with living springs; or an Afton suggests how some exiled Scot salved his heart by keeping near his exile a name he loved. Our day will, in the main, attach names for simple convenience, as they put handles on shovels. Such names, of course, are meaningless. The day for inventing names is past, or seems so. We beg or borrow, as the surveyor who marched across the State of New York, with theodolite and chain and a classical atlas, and blazed his way with Rome, and Illyria, and Syracuse, and Ithaca,—a procedure at once meaningless and dense. Greece nor Rome feels at home among us, nor should they.

History is a method of remembrance, and names are a method of remembrance also, the two conspiring to the same end. When the Saxon, sailing across seas, found a rude home in England, he named his new home Saxonland, and there are East and West and South Saxons; and so, Essex and Wessex and Sussex. In like manner, emigrants from various shores across the grim Atlantic kept the memory and names of that dear land from which they sailed; and by running your eyes over those earlier colonies, you shall see names—aboriginal and imported—and so learn, in an infallible way, who first pitched tents on that soil. This tracking dead races over seas by the local designations they have left has always fascinated my thought. Those names are verily planted in the earth, and grow like trees that refuse to die. Through centuries of turbulence and slaughter and racial transplanting, see how some Roman words stay and refuse to go, knowing as little of retreat as a Roman legion! "Chester" and "coin," as good old English terminals, are tense with interest, since they as plainly record history as did minstrels in old castle hall. Chester is the Roman "castra," camp, and where the name occurs across Britain, indicates with undeviating fidelity that there, in remote decades, Roman legions camped and the Roman argent eagle flashed back morning to the sun. Coin is a contraction for "colonia," indicating that at the place so designated a Roman colonia received honors at the hands of the Roman Senate. In other words, these locative terminals are as certainly bequeathed England by the Roman occupancy as is London Tower. "Ton" is historical too, but is footprint of another passing race—namely the Gaul, defeated of Caesar on many a bloody field—and is a contraction of "tuin," meaning garden, appearing in Ireland as "dun," meaning garrison, both indicating an inclosure, and so becoming a frequent terminal for names of cities, as Huntingtuin or tun, probably originally a hunting-tower or hamlet. A second form of "ton" is our ordinary "town," which, as often as we use, we are speaking the tongue of the Trans-Alpine Gauls, taking a syllable from the word of a half-forgotten people. From yet another source is the locative "ham." Chester is of Roman origin, tun is of Gaelic; but "ham" is Anglo-Saxon, and means village, whence the sweet word home. Witness the use of this suffix in Effingham and the like. "Stoke" and "beck" and "worth" are also Saxon. "Thorpe" and "by" are Danish, as in Althorp and Derby. These reminiscent instances from over seas will serve to illuminate the thought under discussion—the historical element embodied in the names of localities. As in these three locatives we track three distinct peoples through England, we may, by the same method, fall on the footprints of divers civilizations in our New World.

Thus far we have touched at random, as one does on a holiday. Now, seriously, as on a journey of discovery, may we take staff in hand to trace, if possible, the elusive march of populations by the ashes of their campfires, as Evangeline did the wanderings of Gabriel, her beloved.

The Dutch, more's the pity, have left scant memorials of their American empire. "Knickerbocker's History of New York" has effectually laughed them out of court; but, notwithstanding, they were mighty men, whose idiosyncrasies we readily catch at as a jest, but whose greatness breaks on us slowly, as great matters must. "Kill" was a Dutch word, meaning creek, a terminal appearing in many of the few words they have left us, such as Fishkill, Peekskill, Wynantskill, Catskill. Along the banks of streams, with names like these, one could see ragged Rip Van Winkle, with his dog and gun, with shambling hunter's gait, or come silently on solemn Dutch burghers, solemnly playing ninepins in the shadows. Brooklyn (Breuchelin) is Dutch, as are Orange, Rensselaer, Stuyvesant, Rhinebeck, Rhinecliff, Vanbrunt, Staatsburg, Rotterdam, Hague, Nassau, Walloonsack, Yonkers, and Zurich. Wallabout, a borough of Brooklyn (Waalbogt), means Walloon's Bay, thus having a religio-historical significance. Nor dare we omit that river, noble as an epic, named after a Dutch discoverer, who, first of Europeans, flung the swaying shadows of foreign sails on its beautiful waters. Hudson is a prince among triumphant and adventurous discoverers. And I never sail past the Palisades, by summer or gorgeous autumn, when all the hills are blood and flame, without reverting in thought to Hudson, who gave the stream to our geography and his name to the stream, nor forget that he was set adrift in the remote and spacious sea, which likewise bears his name; though well it may, for it is doubtless his grave; for, set adrift by mutineers, he was crushed by icefloes, or fell asleep in death in that winter sea. But Hudson River and Hudson Bay will make him as immortal as this continent. All men shall know by them that Heinrich Hudson hath sailed this way. So much, then, for following along dim paths once trod by a Dutch burgher's tramp of empire.

Of the Swedes, who, under their victorious king, Gustavus Adolphus, the Protestant, settled New Sweden (now known as New Jersey), are left only dim footprints, the path of them being all but lost, though, fortunately, sufficiently plain to trace the emigration of a race. These Swedish emigrants and founders of what they hoped would prove a State, never attained a supremacy, their enemies, who were their immediate neighbors and fellow-emigrants from Protestant States, so speedily overwhelming them—first the Dutch, succeeded by the inevitable Saxon. Bergen, the first Swedish settlement, in comparative isolation, still whispers the story of Gustavus Adolphus's statecraft and vision, and seems a solitary survivor of an old camp of emigrants voyaging by stream and plain, and all slain by famine and disease and Indian stealth and pioneer's hardship, save himself. Nordhoff and Stockholm and Pavonta are scattered reminders of an attempted sovereignty which is no more.

Protestantism made valorous attempt to preempt this New World of North America for civil and religious liberty and the Reformed faith. A look at their breadth of plan must be a benefit to us and a praise to those who planned so large things for the glory of God. That they acted independently of each other shows how wide-spread this thirst for liberty and this love for the kingdom of God. I know few things that stir me more. Swedish Lutherans settled New Sweden; the Dutch Walloons settled New Holland; the Baptists, Rhode Island; the Quakers, Pennsylvania; the Huguenots, the Carolinas; the Puritans, New England. The Anglican Church only incidentally, and not of intention, settled Virginia. Catholicism seized and holds South America, Central America, and Mexico, but in the United States was represented only by the colony of Maryland, planted by Lord Baltimore, and bears mark of his religious faith in naming his plantation after Mary, the Catholic queen, his own name appearing in the name of its present metropolis, Baltimore. In days when in England the Catholic was under ban, he founded this colony as a Canaan for Roman Catholics. Spanish Catholics worked their way along the Pacific Coast, and French Catholicism sailed up the St. Lawrence and down the Mississippi, though the latter territory now belongs to the Protestant faith. Admiral Coligny, an illustrious son of France, attempted planting the Huguenots in America, though this colonizing experiment has left scant memorial of Huguenot occupancy, because the destruction of this colony by Spanish Catholics was so sudden and so utter; yet the Carolinas are witness to this hazard and hope, bearing the name of the infamous King Charles IX. How terrible is the irony when we recall how this same ruler, after whom Coligny named his land of refuge for persecuted Protestants, was author of the most malignant religious massacre on record—the Massacre of St. Bartholomew! In Beaufort and Carteret may be discovered reminiscences of an expedition whose close was disastrous, yet heroic.

Everybody has contributed to giving names to the States; therefore attention to them as a class is fitting. England gave name to Maryland, as suggested in another paragraph; to New York, named in honor of the Duke of York, afterward known as James II, of evil memory; Virginia, so styled by Sir Walter Raleigh, that pattern of chivalry, in honor of his queen, Elizabeth; New Jersey, after Jersey, the island; Rhode Island, after the Island of Rhodes; Delaware, after Lord de la Warre, early governor of Virginia; Pennsylvania, after William Penn, the good; New Hampshire, after Hampshire, in England, as New England was, in love, called after the motherland; Georgia, named for George II, by philanthropic General Oglethorpe, who brought hither his colony of debtors,—such the contributions of England to our commonwealth of names. America has supplied one State a name, Washington; and who more or so worthy to write his name upon a State as George Washington, first Commander-in-chief and President? Spain has christened these Commonwealths: Florida, the land of flowers; California; Colorado, colored; Nevada. We must thank France for these: Maine, for a province in France; Vermont, green mountains; the Carolinas; Louisiana, a name attached by the valorous La Salle, in fealty to his prince, calling this province, at the mouth of the river he had followed to its entrance into the ocean, after Louis XIV, the then darling of the French people. Mexico is remembered in two instances: New Mexico and Texas. Italy has a memorial, bestowed in gratitude by America. The District of Columbia, with its capital, Washington, reminds men forever that Columbus discovered and Washington saved America. Besides this, to Italy's credit, or discredit—I know not which—must be charged the giving title to two continents. Amerigo Vespucci has lent his name to one hemisphere of the world. Other States bear Indian captions. Those wandering hunters have lost their hunting-grounds; but we can not forget whose hunting-grounds they were so long as the Indian name clings to the Territory where he is not, but his name shall remain as his monument. Indiana is generic, the land of the Indian. With this exception, the States are called after tribes or by some Indian name: Alabama, Tennessee, Illinois, Iowa, Ohio, Michigan, Nebraska, Kansas, the Dakotas (who will forget when Hiawatha passed to the land of the Dakotahs for his wooing?), Wyoming, Oregon, Idaho, and the like. With such names, we are once more sitting in the woodland, by the wigwam, as we did a century ago. The memory haunts us. Thus much for the racial element in cognomens of States.

Now again to set out on the journey on the trail of vanished peoples!

The Spanish invasion of America, now, as we recall its story, big with pathos and remorse, the pathos predominating, now that the last rag of a province has been torn from their feeble hands,—the evacuation of Havana, with its sorry pomp of exhuming Columbus's dust, is one of the saddest sights history has called men to look upon. Columbus, a foreigner, gave Spain a New World; and foreigners of still another blood have taken away what by right never belonged to Spanish sovereignty. Just as this fate is, we can but feel the immense pathos of the Spanish evacuation of the New World. French discoverers hugged the rivers, as by some deep affinity. Spaniards, conversely, made march without thought of riverways. They were accustomed to deserts in their own land, and feared them not in a remote hemisphere. They swarmed in the desert. Nothing daunted them. Spain's best blood poured into the New World, a fact which doubtless accounts, in part, for the devitalized energies and genius of this mother country of their birth and hopes and initiative. "Florida" is a Spanish tide-mark. "St. Augustine" is a gravestone of history, marking the mound where lies the dust of the first permanent colony planted in America. The Spaniard headed toward the southern provinces of America, as the Englishman to the east, and the Frenchman to the north and central provinces. Spain held southward. Though the colony of Florida was retained till, in the year 1819, the subtle diplomacy of John Quincy Adams added this peninsula of flowers to the Union of States, it had no aggressive value as a basis of discovery or colonization. The base of Spanish operations was Mexico, the fair land of their conquest. Spain exploited her energies in Mexico and Peru. She was mad with a lust for gold. Her galleons made these lands bankrupt. But Spaniards dared to lose themselves in desert or forests. The discovery and conquest of Peru is mad with turbulent courage and adventure. This we can not deny; and the discovery of the Amazon by a brother of Pizarro is a story to thrill a sluggard into a sleepless waking. We see these heroic days, and forgive much of Spanish misrule and avarice. De Soto, crowding through jungles of undergrowth and miasms, through tribes of hostile men, though stimulated by the wild lust for gold, is for all a brave chapter in the world's biography; and to see him buried in the massive river he discovered is to make other than the tender-hearted weep. To see on the map of the Union "Llano Estacado" is to give, as it were, the initials of heroic names. Spain, which staked these plains, will walk across them no more. They did this service for others. Were they fine-fibered enough to feel these losses, the sorrow we feel for their exit would be intensified; but their centuries of misrule have certified to their all but utter lack of any finer sentiment or sense of high responsibility. Give them what honor we may. Recall their departed glory, and let it light the sky, if only for a moment, like a flash of lightning. Spaniards were little less given to naming their settlements "Saint" than the French. From Mexico, up the long Pacific Coast, they affixed names which will remain perpetually as the sole memorial that once these banished dons held sway in the United States. These names cluster in the Southern United States, touching immediately on their chief dependency, Mexico; but are still in evidence farther away, though growing scanter, as footprints in a remote highway. Rio Grande, Del Norte, Andalusia, and the charming name affixed to a charming mountain range, Sierra Nevada,—how these names rehabilitate a past! Nevada and Andalusia! One needs little imagination to see the flush that gathered on the dusky cheek of the old Spanish discoverer when he calmed, in part, his homesickness by giving his wanderings the name of the dear home from which he came, and kindled his pride into a fire, like the conflagration of mountain pines, by telling the New World the names of his ancestral land. But his "San" and "Santa" are frequent as tents upon a battle-field when the battle is spent. "Corpus Christi"—how Spanish and Catholic that is! San Antonio, Santa Fe, Cape St. Lucas. In Florida: Rio San Juan, Ponce de Leon, Cape San Blas, Hernando, Punta Rosa, Cerro de Oro, are indicative of the growing communities in that peninsula after the invasion located at St. Augustine. But of all the parts of the United States, New Mexico is most honeycombed with Spanish locatives. Passing that way, one seems not to be in America, but in Spain. Spain is everywhere. Their names are here strewn thick as battle soldiers sleeping on the battle-field: Las Colonias, Arayo Salado, Don Carlos Hill, Cerillos, Dolores, San Pambo, Cañon Largo, Magdalene Mountains, San Pedro. Thence these names creep up into Utah, though there they are never numerous: Santa Clara, Escalante Desert, Sierra Abaja; and farther north, reaching to all but hand-clasp with the French Du Chasne River, is San Rafael River. St. Xavier, San Miguel, Santa Monica, Santa Cruz, San Francisco, San Gabriel,—can you not in these names hear the Spanish languishing speech and see the Jesuit pioneer? Eldorado, Sacramento, El Paso, Los Angeles, are footprints of the Spanish discoverer. And Cape Blanco, in far-away Oregon, probably represents the farthest campfire of the Spanish march. In his area the don was indefatigable. De Soto marched like a conqueror. Coronado found his way into Missouri, Kansas, and Colorado. La Junta, in Kansas, may mark the subsidence of the wave of Spanish invasion, and Kansas was part of the kingdom of "Quivera." Eugene Ware, the Kansas poet, who, under the nom de plume of "Ironquill," has written graceful and musical poems, has told of Coronado's excursion into this now populous and fertile region:


  "In that half-forgotten era,
  With the avarice of old,
  Seeking cities he was told
  Had been paved with yellow gold,
  In the kingdom of Quivera—

  Came the restless Coronado
  To the open Kansas plain,
  With his knights from sunny Spain;
  In an effort that, though vain,
  Thrilled with boldness and bravado.

  League by league, in aimless marching,
  Knowing scarcely where or why,
  Crossed they uplands drear and dry,
  That an unprotected sky
  Had for centuries been parching.

  But their expectations, eager,
  Found, instead of fruitful lands,
  Shallow streams and shifting sands,
  Where the buffalo in bands
  Roamed o'er deserts dry and meager.

  Back to scenes more trite, yet tragic,
  Marched the knights with armor'd steeds;
  Not for them the quiet deeds;
  Not for them to sow the seeds
  From which empires grow like magic.

  Never land so hunger-stricken
  Could a Latin race remold;
  They could conquer heat or cold—
  Die for glory or for gold—
  But not make a desert quicken.

  Thus Quivera was forsaken;
  And the world forgot the place
  Through the lapse of time and space.
  Then the blue-eyed Saxon race
  Came and bade the desert waken."

In Colorado, El Moro, Las Animas, and Buena Vista are credentials of Spanish occupancy, the last-named place being, so far as I have been able to trace, the farthest camp marked by a name in the Colorado district. They all sought gold, and having failed to find the thing for which they made their quest, ran back, like a retiring wave. Coronado and Eldorado are suffused with Spanish life, like a woman's cheek with blushes when her lover comes. Over scorching deserts, and along the western coasts of America, the Spaniard toiled, nor halted till the soft Spanish speech mingled with the swift, ejaculatory utterance of the far French frontier. For this search of theirs we bless them, and shall always be glad they left their nomenclature to mind us of what this now wrecked people had achieved.

And our geography is sown thick with reminiscences of the French occupancy of America. Now he is a total foreigner in this realm he helped so largely to discover. Not Acadia was more bereft of the French after their sad banishment than our America is of French rule. New Orleans has its creole.

In Quebec, of all American cities, you seem most in the old French régime. The names above the business blocks would make you believe that what you had read of the battle of Quebec was a myth, and that Wolfe truly died and Montcalm lived to celebrate a victory; but when you climb to the fortress, it is the Englishman's speech you hear, and the English colors you see floating on the heights. The French empire is melted away like snows of winter in the month of June. But those now remote days, profligate of valor, when French trapper and discoverer, fearless as Eric the Bold, fought their way along lake and river, over plain and mountain, with fierce Indian and fiercer winter,—those remote days are on us once more, when we forget our history and read our geography. There may be no new France in contemporaneous American history, but in contemporaneous geography there is. The French discoverer fires the imagination. I confess to wishing I might have tramped by his side through the dense forests; have sailed in his canoe on lake and stream; have plodded with him, by oar or sail, over the Great Lakes; have joined with him in portage; have been boon companion with La Salle on his journey to the sea on the wide and majestic Mississippi; have consorted with Père Marquette. Few American histories will do more to raise the temperature of one's blood than Parkman's story of the French occupancy of North America.

And one reason why Gilbert Parker's "An Adventurer of the North" and "Pierre and his People," books vivid with a boundless freedom and heroism, hold attention and gather force in one's spirit is, that they unconsciously, yet truly, carry us back to those bold days when such episodes were not the exception, but the rule. Pioneering appeals, in some degree, to us all; and in Frenchmen were such resiliency of spirit, such abandon to adventure, as that they stand as typical explorers. Who would not have been alongside Hennepin when he, on a snowy winter day, first of all Europeans, saw thunder-voiced Niagara? The English colonies seized, fortified, and held domain in small compass, and guarded it against the world; but this was not the French idea. They spread over a continent, as a sea might have done. The light step of Mercury belonged to the French colonizer. He loved to roam wherever untrod wastes beckoned. Englishmen in America did little discovering; Frenchmen did much. They crossed the continent, and would have done so had it been twice the breadth it was. I have already shown how some of our commonest words in Western speech are of this origin. While England hugged the Atlantic seaboard, Frenchmen had navigated the Great Lakes, had sailed the Mississippi to the Gulf, had set the seal of their names on the land they had traversed, had gone in to the shoreless interior of the Far West; and to this day you can track the old hunter to the Pacific Coast by the reminiscent names he has left behind. The continent was his home. To him we owe much more than we shall ever pay; but to recall the debt we owe him may serve to make a wider margin to our own life at least. The vast extent of this pioneer work of France may be seen by recalling that the battle of Quebec gave England undisputed sway over what is now known as British America, and what in the history of the United States was known as "the Territory of the Northwest." This came from those by a single treaty. One defeat cost them an empire. Nor was this all their territory. This treaty of 1763 gave England only French acquisitions east of the Mississippi and north of the Great Lakes, but left French America, west of that river and south of the lakes, intact, which shows how the common consent of nations accorded to French valor in exploration the bulk of the North American continent. Essentially chivalrous, the French explorer proved the knight-errant among American discoverers. By the treaty of 1803, Napoleon ceded 1,171,931 square miles to the United States, a tract eight times as large as France itself. France, by rights acquired by discoveries, owned about two-thirds of the continent of North America, and to-day owns not so much as would supply burial room for a child! Saxon as I am, I confess I can not go to Montreal or Quebec, nor look upon the regal St. Lawrence, without a sort of Indian Summer regret filling my sky. The French as explorers were magnificent.

And Frenchmen in those days of their discoveries were eminently devout, either in fact or in habits of thought—sometimes one, sometimes both—as may be inferred from the religiosity of the names they so often gave the places of their discovery. In some instances, this fact is to be explained by recalling that Jesuits were the explorers; but matters conspired to one effect, namely, starring the path of their discoveries by "saints," as with the Spaniards, as has been mentioned. From the St. Lawrence, which is the noblest stream on which my eyes have ever rested, to the old Saint Louis at the Mississippi's mouth, it seems a march of palmers; for at every halt they planted a fleur de lis and a cross. In this nomenclature, despite ourselves, is a witchery, under whose spell I plead guilty to falling. On the Atlantic side of Newfoundland is Notre Dame Bay, while beside the island northward the majestic St. Lawrence mingles the lakes with the sea. Toil your way up the river, as in the long ago the discoverers did, and see on either shore the sacred names: St. Charles, St. Johns, St. Paul's Bay, and on and on, across or through the continent, St. Mary's, St. Joseph, St. Paul, St. Louis. So the voyager made journey. Lake Champlain tells the inroad of a brave French discoverer. Au Sable chasm answers for it that here, on this black water, the ubiquitous voyager has floated. Vermont and Montpelier say, "Remember who has been here." Detroit (the strait) is a tollgate for the French highway. Marquette, Joliet, La Salle, wake from the dead a trinity of heroic discoverers. Than La Salle, America never had a more valorous and indefatigable explorer. Hennepin minds us of the discoverer of Niagara. Sault Ste. Marie, Eau Claire, St. Croix River, the Dalles, are old camp-grounds of these wanderers. In Indiana, Vincennes is one of the oldest French settlements; Terre Haute (high ground) and La Porte are sign-manuals of sunny France. St. Joseph, in Missouri, and Des Moines (swamp land), in Iowa, and the name of a beautiful river in Kansas, Marais des Cygnes (the river of swans), tell the trail of the old French trapper. Where has he not been? Going farther westward, find in Wyoming the Belle Fourche River; in Idaho are St. Joseph Creek, and Coeur d'Alene Lake, and Lake Pend d'Oreille; in Washington are The Little Dalles, and in Oregon, The Dalles; and in Utah, the Du Chasne River. Thus we have tracked the French across the continent, from the St. Lawrence to the Pacific. What travelers they were! But southward, along the great River, there we come, not into scattering communities, but into a veritable New France. Their names monopolize geography. Scan a map of Louisiana, and see how populous it is with French patronymic locatives. New Orleans (pronounce it New Or-le-ans, and hear French pride rising in the word) is there, and St. John Baptist; Baton Rouge, and Thibodeaux, and Prudhomme, and Assumption, and Calcasieu, and Saint Landry, and Grand Coteau, and scores besides, tell how surely Louisiana was a land peopled from the French kingdom and for the French king, and, as those who discovered and those who settled fondly thought, forever. So evanescent are the plans of men! The word "bayou," so common in the regions neighboring the Mississippi, is a French word. Prairie, butte, bayou, three terms in perpetual geography of this Western World, are bequests of a departed people. The farthest west and south I have tracked the French discoverer in a name is in Nebraska, where they are identified in the name of the River Platte. La Plata is the Spanish form, as will be seen to the south—say in Texas—and here in the north is the French imprint in Platte, that wide but shallow stream, flowing over its beds of shifting sands. Verily, the French régime in America was more than fiction. The names it left will keep an eternal remembrance.

And the English came, and seeded down a land with their ideas, language, laws, literature, political inclinations, and homestead names. Those early emigrants, though refugees from oppressive misrule, loved England notwithstanding. Of her they dreamed, to her they clung, from her they imported sedate and musical names for their new homes this side the sea. New England was the special bailiwick for such sowing, though Virginia partakes of this seed and harvest. The rich old English names, having in them so much history and memory,—how good to see them on our soil! Those early colonists were not original, nor particularly imaginative, but loyal lovers they were; and to give to their home here the name attaching to their home there was pledge of fidelity to dear old England. In Virginia, one will find what he can not find in New England, namely, assertions of loyalty to English princes; for the Puritans were never other than stanch friends of liberty, a thing which grew upon the citizens of the Old Dominion by degrees, and by slow degrees besides. They were loyalists and royalists. This, New England was not, and could not be. The Old Dominion's name, Virginia, and its first colony, Jamestown, bear attestation to this loyalty of which mention is made, though the State's name was given by that lover of Queen Elizabeth and lover of America, Sir Walter Raleigh. Berkeley recalls that querulous old loyalistic governor of Virginia, that fast believer in the divine right of kings and of himself; Westmoreland, Middlesex, New Kent, Sussex, Southampton, Surrey, Isle of Wight, King and Queen, Anne, Hanover, Caroline, King William, Princess, Prince George, Charles City, are names which tell of sturdy believers in kings. No such mark can be found in the English colonies to the north. To England they were attached, but not to English kings. Bath, York, Bedford, Essex, Warwick, and time would fail to tell this story through. In Maryland you may note this transplanted England too: Somerset, Saulsbury, Cecil, Annapolis, Calvert, and St. Mary's, betraying the Roman Catholic origin of the colony, as do Baltimore, Saulsbury, Northampton, and Marlborough. Who can doubt the maternity of such names as these?

Now turn face toward New England, and find old England again: Berwick, Shapleigh, Boston, Litchfield, Clearfield, Norfolk, Springfield, New Britain, Hampton, Middlesex, Fairfield, Windham, East Lynne, Roxbury, Kent, Cornwall, Bristol, Enfield, Stafford, Woodstock, Buckingham, Stonington, Fair Haven, Taunton, Barnstable, Falmouth, Middlebury, Bedford, Dartmouth, Pomfret, Abington,—but why extend the list, musical as it is with the home days and the home land? But name Plymouth, because it shows the tenacity of English loyalty to England; for though the Mayflower, with her Puritans, might not have an English port from which to set sail for a New World, they do yet name their landing-haven after the English harbor. Blood is thicker than water when the instincts are consulted. Seeing these names, we can not mistake where we are. This is as certainly English as the Pacific-coast line was Spanish and the Mississippi Valley French. These Englishmen imported names as well as populations. And I, for one, like them and their names; for they abound in suggestion. Who settled Connecticut and Massachusetts we know from these locatives we have read and for the names they brought; and for the liberty and religion they sailed with across the seas, we remember them and love them.

There are miscellaneous names, telling their tale, not of race occupancy, but of who or what has passed this way, of beast, or bird, or event, or man, which have left impress on geography,—things we do well to study, and which will always lend a sort of enchantment and vivacious interest to the pages of travel or geography. The villages along a railroad are thus often of captivating interest. The Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad, for instance, may illustrate this point. Its name has interest of no common sort. Atchison is named after a famous pro-slavery advocate, who came to Kansas, with his due quota of "border ruffians," for the avowed purpose of making Kansas a slave State. Topeka is an Indian name; Santa Fe is a Spanish landmark, tall as a lighthouse builded on a cliff. At the Missouri line is Kansas City, so named because this metropolis is created by Kansas. The metropolis is in Missouri; but is made rich and great by Kansas men and products. Kansas has not a large city in its borders, because this Kansas City has engrossed the great business interests of a great Commonwealth. The metropolis of Kansas, in other words, is in the State of Missouri, and the name is as strict a speaking of truth as an apostle could have commanded.

Passing along the line, find Holliday, so named from the projector of a part of this railroad line; on is De Soto, always thrillingly historic; farther is Eudora (a word of Greek genesis, and meaning a good gift, though likely enough he who christened this village may have known as little of Greek as a kitten); on is Lawrence, named for a famous anti-slavery agitator and philanthropist of Massachusetts—for Lawrence is a New England colony, as is Manhattan, farther up the Kansas River, familiarly known as the "Kaw," which is the leading river of Kansas; here is Lecompton, which keeps alive the memory of Lecompte, the Indian chief; then comes Tecumseh, as clearly an Indian name as the former; then Topeka, the capital of Kansas, and wearing an Indian sobriquet; then comes Wakarusa (Indian, meaning "hip deep," the depth of the stream in crossing); then Carbondale, so called because of the coal deposits which created the village; then Burlingame, a beautiful hamlet, wearing a famous name; then Emporia, a city of traffic, so dubbed for reason of thinking it a famous trade center in the earlier days; Barclay, named for the famous Quaker apologist, because this village is a Quaker colony; Nickerson, for one of the original promoters of this railroad; Great Bend, referring to a great bend the Arkansas River makes at this place; Pawnee Rock, from a local rallying-point of the Pawnees when this was an Indian hunting-ground; Garden City, so named because, by irrigation, this locality was redeemed from comparative barrenness; Granada, and Las Animas, and La Junta, reminiscent words from the Spanish march into Kansas; Puebla, clearly designating that strange people whose cliff dwellings are at this hour one of the rarest studies in American archaeology. On another branch of this same road: Olathe, an Indian name; Ottawa; Algonquin, for "trader," Chanute, from an Indian chief, who was a local celebrity; Elk Falls, referring to those days when this river (the Elk) was famous for that species of graceful motion called the elk; farther are Indian Chief and White Deer, names of evident paternity. I have taken this time to run along this railroad line so as to show the possibilities in this direction anywhere. To learn to read history from the stations as we pass is surely an art worth learning. In passing across the continent I have found it as if a guide had prepared that way before us. The natural history of a region may thus be read without resorting to a book. Count the fauna: Eagle River, Bald Eagle, Buffalo Lake, Great Bear Lake, Salmon Falls, Snake River, Wolf Creek, White Fish River, Leech Lake, Beaver Bay, Carp River, Pigeon Falls, Elkhorn, Wolverine, Crane Hill, Rabbit Butte, Owl, Rattlesnake, Curlew, Little Crow, Mullet Lake, Clam Lake, Turtle Creek, Deerfield, Porcupine Tail, Pelican Lake, Kingfisher, Ravens' Spring, Deer Ears, Bee Hill, Fox Creek, White Rabbit—can any one mistake the animals haunting these places in earlier days? Trapper's Grove tells a story we feel, but need not rehearse. So, descriptive words in vegetation, or person, or characteristic, what volumes are contained in them! Crystal River, Little Muddy, Elm Creek, Mission Creek (a stream on which was an Indian mission), Calumet, Table Rock, Crab Orchard, Elm Creek, Lost River (the river lost in the sand), Soldier Creek, Battle Creek, Corn Creek, Spring Lake, Hackberry, Cottonwood Falls, Sand Hills, Poplar Hill, Cold Springs, Oak Hill, Cavalry Creek, Bluff Creek, Peace Creek, Cedar Bluff, Council Bluffs, Punished Woman's Lake, Highbank Creek, Big Knife, Black River, Cypress Creek, Black Raven, Brier Creek, Big Lick, Laurel, Hurricane Inlet, Dead Man's Bay, Pine Hill, Magnolia, Mountain Meadow, Medicine Woods, Rush Creek, Salt Plain, Saline River, Lava Bed, Wild Horse, Sinking Creek, Nameless, Grassy Trail (in the desert), Azure Cliffs, Miry Bottom, Sand Dune Plateau, Grouse Creek,—these are names as communicative of secrets as a child. Heath, Rock Lake, Wood Lake, Grand Prairie, Lily Creek, Swift Falls, Calamus River, Evergreen Lake, Lone Tree (a prairie locality), Spring Bank, Fort Defiance, Pontiac, Smoky Hill River (these hills are always as if smoky),—what a light these names shed on the region in which they occur!

And you can recapitulate American history in its most salient details from a reading of our geography. Great names stay, and will not be gone. As moss clings to the rock, so do great memories cling to localities. Nature conspires to keep illustrious men from death. Witness such names as follows: Lincoln (General Lincoln of Revolutionary fame), Madison, Pulaski (the brave Pole who fought for our freedom), Webster, Sumner, Henry (Patrick), Jackson (doughty general and President), Breckinridge, Hancock (signer of the Declaration of Independence), Lafayette, Clay, Pocahontas, Calhoun, Randolph, Monroe, Franklin, Jefferson, Clark (the explorer), Douglas (the "Little Giant"), Adams, Whitman (the Presbyterian missionary, who saved to the United States Washington and Oregon, by a heroic episode which deserves the perpetual gratitude of those States), Custer (the general slain in Indian warfare), Union (to commemorate the preservation of our Union), Benton (Thomas H., of Missouri, whose daughter was wife of General John C. Fremont), Lewis and Clark (discoverers), Garfield, Kane (Arctic explorer), Lincoln (the emancipator), Polk, Houston, Lee (General Robert E.), Tyler, Van Buren, Scott (General Winfield, of the Mexican War), Pike (the discoverer of Pike's Peak), Marshall (Chief-Justice), Berkely, Hamilton (Alexander, our first lord of the Treasury), Gadsden (he of "the Gadsden Purchase"), Marion, Sumter (both of Revolutionary fame), Carteret, Columbus, Stanton, Colfax, Greeley, Chase, Sherman, Seward, Fillmore, Harlan (Senator), Butler (Ben), Johnson (obstreperous "Andy"), Grant (our chiefest military hero), Polk (General), Brown (John Brown, of Ossawatomie), Thomas (General), Sheridan, Wallace (General), St. John (Prohibitionist, Republican governor of Kansas), Lane (Jim Lane, of Kansas), McPherson and Sedgewick (both Union generals), Case, Dallas, Boone, DeKalb, McDonough, Schuyler, DeWitt, Putnam, Kossuth, Hancock, Palo Alto, Cerro Gordo (reminders of the Mexican War), Clayton (of the Clayton-Bulwer Treaty), Emmet, Fremont, Taylor (President), Warren (General), Clinton (DeWitt), Audubon, Story (Chief-Justice), Buchanan, St. Clair, Montcalm, Kosciusko, Steuben, Tippecanoe,—to be acquainted with these names is to possess knowledge of the virtual makers of America in the range of statesmanship and military achievement.

One other item completes this tabulation. The aborigine of America, the Indian, has left "his mark" across and through this Nation. He never, in any true sense, owned this continent. He hunted and fought across it. He swept by, like gusts of winter wind. He staid here, he did not live here. Possession implies more than occupancy; it implies improvement, industry, habitations, cities, destiny, as worked out by sweat of toil. But this American Indian, who, in honor, never possessed the territory, and has left no ruins of cities built by his cunning and perseverance, nor codes, nor literature, has left us names of lake, and stream, and mountain, and city. This stolid Indian, though you would scarcely think it of him, had, in common with other nomad and untutored peoples, poetic instincts. Their names, like those of the Hebrews, had meanings, and were picturesque and beautiful, sometimes, oftentimes, bewitchingly so. Some words have a music, liquid as the whip-poor-will's notes heard in woodlands climbing a mountain side. Minnehaha, "laughing water"—does not the word seem laughing, like a falling stream? I once heard a distinguished philologist say that, of all the rhythmic words he had hit upon in any tongue, Winona was most exquisite. Surely it is not musical, but music. See the pomp of names, like an Indian war march begun: Athabasca, Wyoming, Tahoe, Niobrara, Mohawk, Sioux City, Nemaha, Hiawatha, Seneca, Chippewa, Chicago, Saskatchewan, Pepacton ("meeting of waters"), Winnepeg, Cheyenne, Manitoba, Penobscot, Narragansett, Chicopee, Manhattan, and a host besides, a numberless procession. Indian names cling with peculiar tenacity to lakes and rivers; for those hunters knew all waters, and hunted beside all streams and lakes. They were not seamen, and have left scant memorials of themselves in names that fringe the sea; but to lakes they cling with tireless tenacity.

Let these words suffice. As one who journeys in circles finds no end of journeying, so I. This theme runs on, nor stops to catch breath. I make an end, therefore, not because the subject is exhausted, but because it is dismissed. But this study in geography is journeying among dead peoples as certainly as it the land were crowded with obelisk and tomb. To those who were and are not, say, Vale! Vale!

  "Ye who love the haunts of Nature,
  Love the sunshine of the meadow,
  Love the shadow of the forest,
  Love the wind among the branches,
  And the rain-shower and the snowstorm,
  And the rushing of great rivers
  Through their palisades of pine-trees,
  And the thunder in the mountains,
  Whose innumerable echoes
  Flap like eagles in their eyries,—
  Listen to these wild traditions.
  Ye who love a nation's legends,
  Love the ballads of a people,
  That like voices from afar off
  Call to us to pause and listen,
  Speak in tones so plain and childlike,
  Scarcely can the ear distinguish
  Whether they are sung or spoken,—
  Listen to this Indian Legend.
  Ye whose hearts are fresh and simple,
  Who have faith in God and nature,
  Who believe that in all ages
  Every human heart is human,
  That in even savage bosoms
  There are longings, yearnings, strivings,
  For the good they comprehend not,
  That the feeble hands and helpless,
  Groping blindly in the darkness,
  Touch God's right hand in that darkness,
  And are lifted up and strengthened,—
  Listen to this simple story.
  Ye, who sometimes, in your rambles
  Through the green lanes of the country,
  Where the tangled barberry-bushes
  Hang their tufts of crimson berries
  Over stone walls gray with mosses,
  Pause by some neglected graveyard,
  For awhile to muse, and ponder
  On a half-effaced inscription,
  Written with little skill of song-craft,
  Homely phrases, but each letter
  Full of hope and yet of heart-break,
  Full of all the tender pathos
  Of the Here and the Hereafter,—
  Stay, and read this rude inscription."

Only saying, Read not the "Song of Hiawatha," but the story of dead peoples by the ashes of their campfires,—these names they have left, clinging to places like blue to distant hills.