Ohio History Journal

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President Nebraska Historical Society.


History is to a nation what the faculty of memory is to

individuals * *  * the basis of all our experience, and by

means of experience, the source of all improvement. * * *

History knows all things, contains all things, teaches all things;

not in winged words which strike the ear without impressing the

mind, but in great and striking actions. * * * The spirit

of the world itself is but a great and unending tale repeated

from age to age, the poem of God, the source of human in-

spiration. Such is a condensed statement of the expressions

of Lamartine, the French scholar and historian.

Prof. Van Dyke, in speaking of the footprints of a desert

deer found in the petrified rocks upon a mountain top, said:

"How many thousands of years ago was that impression stamped

upon the stone? * * * And while it remains quite perfect

today, the vagrant hoof mark of a desert deer, what has become

of the once carefully guarded footprints of the Sargons, the

Pharaohs, and the Caesars?"

I take these two excerpts from distinguished writers as a

thought from which to deliver a discourse upon the great West,

its place in American history, past, present and prospective

future, and the urgent necessity, as well as the expediency of

preserving its history.

Columbus, gifted by genius, was inspired with the belief

that the world had lost one of its hemispheres. With him it

was to be the discovery and bringing back to world relationship,

not the Atlantic sea coast, but the entire American continent.

Yet, when the Bostonians threw the tea into Boston Harbor

they did not know of any land west of the Alleghenies. John

Adams, the gifted advocate and fire brand for independence,

knew nothing of lands westward from the colonies and their