Home  »  Volume XVII: American LATER NATIONAL LITERATURE: PART II  »  § 20. The Colorado River

The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21). rn VOLUME XVII. Later National Literature, Part II.

XIV. Travellers and Explorers, 1846–1900

§ 20. The Colorado River

“Wherever ship has sailed, there have I been,” said Columbus, and the men—and women—of America were scarcely behind him in travel and exploration. They tested out the far far seas, the solitudes of continents, the innermost secrets of the rivers. But there was one river, wild, rock-bound, and recalcitrant, the Colorado, which, like a raging dragon, refused to come to terms and was so fierce withal that trapper and pioneer shunned its canyon tentacles and passed by. Finally the government sent Lieutenant J. C. Ives to attack it at its mouth, which is defended by a monstrous tidal wave, and to ascend in his little iron steamer, The Explorer.Ives reached the foot of Black Canyon, while Captain Johnson with another steamer succeeded in reaching a somewhat higher point. Johnson’s journal has not been published, but Ives wrote an interesting Report upon the Colorado River of the West Explored in 1857 and 1858, published in 1861, the year the memorable shot was fired at Fort Sumter. The Colorado was forgotten.