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ILLUSTRATIONS TO VOLUME III
I. Portrait of François André Michaux. From oil paint
ing in possession of American Philosophical So-
Frontispiece II. Carte des Etats du Centre, de l'Ouest et du Sud des
Etats-Unis, 1804 [From the original French edi-
108 III. Photographic facsimile of title-page to François André Michaux's Travels
109 IV. Photographic facsimile of title-page to Harris's Journal 309 V. Photographic facsimile of Map of Alleghany and Yohiogany Rivers; from Harris's Journal
331 VI. Photographic facsimile of Map of the State of Ohio, by Rufus Putnam; from Harris's Journal
PREFACE TO VOLUME III
We publish in this volume André Michaux's journal of his travels into Kentucky from 1793-96, Englished by us from the French version in the Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society; a reprint of the English version of Travels to the West of the Alleghany Mountains, made in 1802 by his son, François André Michaux; and a reprint of Thaddeus Mason Harris's Journal of a Tour into the Territory Northwest of the Alleghany Mountains, made in the Spring of the Year 1803 - omitting, however, as unnecessary to our present purpose, the appendix thereto.
The Michauxs André Michaux, whose name is known to scientists of both hemispheres, was born at Satory, Versailles, in 1746. Destined by his father for the superintendence of a farm belonging to the royal estate, Michaux early became interested in agriculture, even while pursuing classical studies. Upon the death of his young wife, Cecil Claye, which occurred at the birth of their son, François André (1770), he devoted himself to scientific studies in the effort to overcome his grief. These naturally took the direction of botany, and Michaux became imbued with a desire to seek for strange plants in foreign countries. From 1779-81 he travelled in England, the Auvergne, and the Pyrenees; and later (1782-85), in Persia, botanizing, and studying the political situation of the Orient. He had intended to return to Persia, but while in France (1785) the government requested that he
should proceed to North America in order to make a study of forest trees, and experiment with regard to their transplantation to France. Accordingly, in the autumn of 1785, he left France, taking with him his young son.
Landing in New York he passed a year and a half in that vicinity, herborizing, and attempting a botanical garden. Finding the latitude of the Southern states, however, more suited to his enterprise, he removed in the spring of 1787 to Charleston. Purchasing a plantation about ten miles from the city, he entered with enthusiasm into the search for new plants and their culture upon his estate. In this year he explored the mountains of the Carolinas, and a twelve-month later made a difficult and hazardous journey through the swamps and marshes of Florida. The next year (1789) was occupied by a voyage to the Bahamas, and another search among the mountains for plants of a commercial nature — notably ginseng, whose utility he taught the mountaineers.
In 1794 he undertook a most difficult expedition to Canada and the arctic regions about Hudson Bay, and upon his return proposed to the American Philosophical Society at Philadelphia an exploration of the great West by way of the Missouri River. A subscription was begun for this purpose, and Jefferson drafted for him detailed instructions for the journey;' but his services were needed in another direction, and the Missouri exploration was abandoned for a political mission.
The discontent of the Western settlers with regard to the free navigation of the Mississippi had reached an acute stage; the French minister to the United States had come armed with instructions to secure the co-opera
See documents in Original Journals of Lewis and Clark (New York, 1904), appendix.
tion of trans-Allegheny Americans for a raid upon the Spanish territory of Louisiana, aimed to recover that province for the power to which it had formerly belonged, and make it a basis for revolutionary movements in Canada, the West Indies, and ultimately all Spanish America. This minister arrived in Charleston in February, 1793, and selected Michaux as his agent to communicate with the Kentucky leaders. An ardent republican, already in the pay of the French government, and friendly with influential men in government circles, Michaux seemed a most desirable as well as the most available agent possible. One characteristic was not, however, sufficiently considered. Whatever may have been his interest in the intrigue, whatever accounts thereof are through caution or prudence omitted from the journal here printed, one fact is evident — that Michaux was chiefly devoted to the cause of science; these pages reveal that a rare plant or new tree interested him much more than an American general or a plot to subvert Spanish tyranny.
His first Kentucky journey was, from the point of view of the diplomats, but moderately successful. With the collapse of the enterprise - due to the imprudence of Genet, the firmness of Washington, the growing loyalty of the Westerners to the new federal government, and the change of leaders in France - Michaux returned to botanical pursuits, and his later journeys appear to have been undertaken solely in order to herborize. There are, however, some slight indications in the text that he entertained hope of continuing the enterprise, and of its ulti
* See Turner, “Origin of Genet's Projected Attack on Louisiana and the Floridas" in American Historical Review, July, 1897; also documents in American Historical Association Report, 1896 and 1897.