||Travels through North & South Carolina, Georgia, East & West Florida [excerpt]
||Bartram, William. Travels through North & South Carolina, Georgia, East & West Florida, the Cherokee Country, the Extensive Territories of the Muscogulges, or Creek Confederacy, and the Country of the Chactaws; Containing an Account of the Soil and Natural Productions of Those Regions, Together with Observations on the Manners of the Indians. Embellished with Copper-Plates. (Philadelphia: James & Johnson, 1791). Pages 114-169.
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Son of the most important botanist in colonial America,
William Bartram (1739-1823) learned to observe, sketch, and
describe natural objects at an early age. After a checkered
career that included failing in business, he made the three-year
journey through the Carolinas, Georgia, and Florida described in
his Travels, which established his reputation as a
scientist and artist. After returning from this trip Bartram
lived on a farm he inherited outside Philadelphia, where he
created the largest botanical research collection in the United
Expedition of 1773-1777
With backing from the London scientific community, Bartram
wrote notes, collected seeds, preserved specimens, and made
drawings of unique animals and plants throughout the Southeast.
The description of his battle with alligators included here is
typical of his unique blend of personal charm and scientific
objectivity. We excerpt on the chapter covering May 1774 because
the entire text is online elsewhere (see below).
Bartramís Travels were first published in 1791 in
Philadelphia. A 1996 edition published by the Library of America
is in most public libraries, and contains his journal of the
1773-1777 trip, his drawings, and his other scientific writings.
Bartramís carefully detached observations and under-stated humor
quickly established the book as a classic. It influenced
Romantic writers from Chateaubriand to Coleridge and Emerson,
and was the most important piece of American nature writing
before Thoreauís Walden appeared in 1854.
Other Internet and Reference Sources
The full text of the 1791 edition of Bartramís Travels is
available from the Univ. of North Carolina at http://docsouth.unc.edu/nc/bartram/menu.html, in their ďDocumenting the American SouthĒ collection.
The Bartram Trail Conference (www.bartramtrail.org)
helps preserve and interpret natural and cultural areas along
the route of his journey. Their website contains links to other
reliable information sources about Bartram.