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Preliminary remarks — Travelling - its facilities -- Route to the Valley of
Wyoming from New-York.- Muskonetcong Mountain, - Delaware Water-Gap, - Stroudsburg,- Kakatchlanamin Hills or Blue Mountains, the Wind-Gap, - Pokono Mountains.
THE passion for travelling, so often and so habitually spoken of as a characteristic of the English people, seems to have been transmitted, with many other of their national peculiarities, to their American descendants; stimulated, moreover, to increased activity, by the vast extent, the enlarged community of interests and feelings, and the unequalled facilities for conveyance, which are united in our country. The magnificent steamboats and multitudinous rail-roads which this tendency of the American people, and the necessities of their un. bounded commercial enterprise, have called into existence, afford sufficient evidence, in their number and extent, of the great amount of travel at all times in progress; but to obtain a full conception of the locomotive propensity by which the citizens are animated, it is necessary to be a passenger, during either of the summer months, on board one or another of the gigantic steamboats that ply along the principal thoroughfares of inland navigation — such, for instance, as the Hudson, the Delaware, or the Mississippi. If the boat in which the adventurous observer entrusts his person should happen to be one of a line engaging at the moment in competition with a rival, and therefore presenting the temptation of a charge reduced almost to nothing, his understanding of the eagerness for travel which animates all classes, sexes, and occupations, will be all the more enlarged and enlightened.
A natural consequence of this universal appetite is the zeal with which new scenes and localities are sought out, as the objects of touring industry — a zeal displayed in astonishing activity by the rich and novelty-loving travellers of England, and only in a less degree by their fellow-explorers of America. Of late years we have seen the former pushing their researches into the remotest quarters of the globe — the trackless deserts of Africa, the wild steppes and mountains of Central Asia, the sterile plains of Russia, the dark forests of Norway, the savage prairies of our Western Continent, and the far distant isles of the Pacific; and the latter, in the same spirit though with means more limited and time less entirely at their command, pushing their summer expeditions to the British Provinces and the great lakes of the
Northwest — not to mention the frequency with which Americans are seen or heard of among the splendid capitals of Europe, or the relics of the wonderful past in Africa and Asia.
Touching these last, no man of intelligence or of enlarged understanding will think for a moment of censuring the spirit in which journies to behold them are undertaken, probably, in the great majority of instances; the spirit, doubtless, of liberal curiosity and of desire for knowledge. Nevertheless, it is worthy of remark that, familiar as the principal resorts of home tourists may be to thousands upon thousands of Americans — perfectly at home as they may find themselves in Washington, New-York, Philadelphia, Boston, Quebec and Montreal, and generally well informed as to the main features of the country in its different regions — there are yet very many places worthy to be visited, either on account of natural attractions, or events of which they have been the scene, or perhaps of both these causes in combination; places rarely included within the range of annual excursions, yet rich in scenery or in recollections, worthy to be noted by the curious inquirer, and to be enjoyed by him who seeks in travel refreshment for his mind and gratification for his refined and cultivated tastes.
Such is the Valley of Wyoming - exquisitely beautiful in scenery, and invested by the history of the past and the genius of poesy with attractions not less strong or enduring. Such it was found to be, greatly to his own enjoyment, by the author of this unpretending volume, in an excursion performed during the summer of 1839; and in the hope of inducing others to procure for themselves pleasures like those which he enjoyed, he has ventured to draw up from his notes a brief description of the scenes and objects by which he was deeply interested, and which, in his humble judgment, fairly entitle the lovely and far-famed Valley of Wyoming to a place in the “itineraries" of the United States, not less distinguished than many other localities have long possessed, whose claims, though more generally recognized, are neither more valid nor more numerous.
Another consideration has had much to do with the production of this volume.- one which the author has some diffidence in stating, as its avowal inay subject him, though erroneously, to the charge of literary presumption. The reader has seen in the preceding pages, that the name of WYOMING has been illustrated and adorned by the genius of a great poet, and in his lay of perfect music embalmed for everlasting fame. In extent, wherever the English language is read or spoken - in time, so long as that language shall exist, either as living or dead -- the Wyoming of Campbell is and will be a creation lovely to the heart and imagination of mankind. But the poet has given to the world a creation that is only imaginary. His Wyoming is not the Wyoming of prosaic reality, nor is the tale to which he has married it in accordance with the facts of history. Of course no reproach is meant for him in making this declaration. His choice of materials and the use he made of them were governed by the purposes and necessities of his own art — not by those of the historian ; and as the requirements of his own art would have been perfectly well satisfied by a total invention of incidents, so there was no obligation upon him to use any thing more than such a partial foundation of reality as would be sufficient for the ends he had in view.
But though no exception be taken to the poet for the fanciful colouring he has given to events so full of interest, it is perhaps not unwarrantable to presume that thousands of his admiring readers would desire to know the real features of that picture which, with his embellishments, appears so lovely. Such desire would almost unavoidably spring up from the natural propensity of men to seek after truth; and it would be stimulated, doubtless, by curiosity to compare the real with the imagined
In this belief the author has found encouragement to prepare his little volume for the public; while motive was furnished by the injustice done, however innocently, in the poem, to a personage of no mean celebrity, in whose character and life the author has long felt a deep interest. It will be understood, probably, that reference is made to the famous Mohawk chieftain Brant -- designated in the poem, with equal wrong to his morals