The Story of Meriwether Lewis and
For Young Americans
PAGE 2 OF 8
Now and then the Indians who visited the French trading-posts would tell strange stories of a mighty river that flowed westward, of a lake whose waters were bitter with salt, and of a strange people in the Far West who rode on horseback and wore armor. But no white man had ventured far enough into those wilds to prove or disprove the truth of these tales.
It had been one of La Sale's dreams that a waterway extended from the region of the Great Lakes to the Pacific Ocean. He thought that such a waterway, once discovered, would afford a direct route across the continent a route by which China and the East could be easily and quickly reached. For at that time nobody knew how far it was to the Pacific coast, nor was the great width of the western ocean taken into account.
After the death of La Salle other Frenchmen hoped to find that his dream was true; and the stories which the Indians related of a great river west of the Mississippi encouraged their hopes.
At length a French Canadian known as the Sienr de Verendrye determined to explore the western country, and if possible discover the long-sought water-route to the Pacific. He had been for several years in command of a fort and trading
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