Ohio History Journal

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In a letter to R. W. Emerson, dated July 8, 1851, Thomas

Carlyle wrote as follows: "I lately read a small old brown

French duodecimo, which I mean to send you by the first

chance there is. The writer is a Capitaine Bossu: the pro-

duction, a Journal of his experiences in 'La Louisiana,'

'Oyo' (Ohio,), and those regions, which looks very genuine,

and has a strange interest to me, like some fractional Odys-

sey or letter. Only a hundred years ago, and the Mississippi

has changed as never valley did: in 1751, older and stranger,

looked at from its present date, than Balbec or Ninevah!

Say what we will, Jonathan is doing miracles (of a sort) under

the sun in these times now passing. Do you know Bartram's

Travels?  This is of the Seventies (1770) or so; treats of

Florida chiefly, has a wondrous kind of floundering eloquence

in it; and has also grown immeasurably old. All American

libraries ought to provide themselves with that kind of book;

and keep them as a kind of future biblical article."

Writing a month later to the same appreciative corre-

spondent, the great Scotchman said: "Along with the

sheets [of the life of Sterling] was a poor little French Book

for you,-Book of a poor Naval Mississippi Frenchman, one

'Bossu' I think; written only a century ago, yet which

already seemed old as the Pyramids in reference to those

strange, fast-growing countries. I read it as a kind of de-

faced romance; very thin and lean, but all true, and very

marvelous as such."   The books1 thus strikingly character-


1Nouveaux Voyages aux Indes Occidentales, Contenant une Relation des

differens Peuples qui habitent les environ du grande Flevre Saint Louis,

appelle vulgairement le Mississippi; leur Religion; leur Gouvernement; leurs

Guerres, leur Commerce. Par M. Bossu, Amsterdam, 1768.

Travels through North and South Carolina, Georgia, East and West

Florida, the Cherokee Country, the Extensive Territories of the Muscogulges,

or Creek Confederacy, and the Country of the Choctaws. Plates, 8vo: By

William Bartram, London, 1792.