Oregon and Eldorado: Romance of the Rivers! A Nautical Classic By Thomas Bulfinch! by Thomas Bulfinch
PREFACE. When one observes attentively the maps of South and North America, no feature appears more striking than the provision which Nature seems to have made, in both continents, for water-communication across the breadth of each. In the Northern continent, this channel of communication is formed by the Missouri and Columbia Rivers, which stretch over an extent of three thousand miles, interrupted only by the ridge of the Rocky Mountains. In the Southern continent, the River Amazon, in its path from the Andes to the sea, traverses a course of thirty-three hundred miles. In both cases, a few hundred miles of land-carriage will complete the transit from ocean to ocean. The analogy presented in the length and direction of these magnificent water-pathways is preserved in their history. A series of romantic adventures attaches to each. I indulge the hope, that young readers who have so favorably received my former attempts to amuse and instruct them, in my several works reviving the fabulous legends of remote ages, will find equally attractive these true narratives of bold adventure, whose date is comparatively recent. Moreover, their scenes are laid, in the one instance, in our own country; and, in the other, in that great and rising empire of Brazil to which our distinguished naturalist, Prof. Agassiz, has gone on a pilgrimage of science. It will enable us better to appreciate the discoveries and observations which the professor will lay before us on his return, to know something beforehand of the history and peculiarities of the region which is the scene of his labors; and, on the other hand, the route across the North-American continent, to which the first part of the volume relates, deprives increased interest, at this time, from the fact that it nearly corresponds to the route of the contemplated Northern Pacific Railroad.