The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21).
VOLUME XV. Colonial and Revolutionary Literature; Early National Literature, Part I.

I. Travellers and Observers, 1763–1846

§ 3. The Routes of the Travellers

Against the background thus rapidly sketched we are to project a hundred years of travel and observation. The wealth and variety of material are very great. For the period in question, one bibliographer has recorded 413 titles of works bearing upon the single state of Illinois; for the same region between 1818 and 1865, he notes 69 British travellers, 53 American, and 31 German. For the country as a whole, a second writer has listed forty-five books of the sort by foreigners between 1789 and 1820. Whether of American or foreign origin, such books were not restricted to one volume; gradually there came to be two or three, and sometimes four. And commonly the route described was one of these: from New York to Albany, and thence across to Niagara Falls; from an eastern port south to Savannah by boat, then overland to Mobile and New Orleans, and up the Mississippi; from Philadelphia to Pittsburgh, down the Ohio to the Mississippi, and from the Mississippi up the Missouri to the North-west. Canadian travellers followed the St. Lawrence.

As the lists would indicate, the literature is cosmopolitan—an inference that is confirmed in other ways. Not only were the works of foreigners turned into English, but British and American observers were translated on the Continent: Bartram into French, German, and Dutch; Crèvecœur into French (by himself) and German; Weld into Italian, Dutch, and German; and so on. Again, the same work, as, for example, Bartram’s, might be published in the same year at Philadelphia and at London or Dublin, or first in this country, and then abroad, or vice versa. And finally, the borrowings from earlier by later travellers, irrespective of tongues, are endless.