Excerpt from Chronicles of the Builders of the Commonwealth, Vol. 5: Historical Character Study
The first direction of the current of population in America was from the southeast to the northwest, to the silver regions, and in search of the ever-eluding interoceanic passage. The great interior remained for centuries impenetrable, by reason of hostile savages and other barriers. The movement therefore followed the seaboard, and this in America endowed the dis coverers with something of the supernatural in the eyes of the natives, for sails and sea-going vessels were unknown to the aborigines. Balsas or rafts, dugouts or canoes, rarely of any great size, were their sole water craft, which appeared insignificant before the huge, winged ocean-houses of the strangers. The trappers adopted largely the native birch canoe, though using also regular boats for their river expo ditions. \vith these they gradually pushed across the continent, shooting the rapids of unknown streams, and forming by the opening of the present century routes of travel, with boatmen or voyageurs between the two oceans.
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