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There were no Argonauts among them; there were no sea-kings to lead their clans afloat.
But these have very generally been given to them by the whites, and were borrowed from the tribes living on their banks at the date of the discovery.
The recently-discovered ruins in Arizona and New Mexico, "whose memorial has perished with them," were not found at the mouth of the Colorado or the Gila, but clinging to the cliffs in gloomy cañons.
Thus much we seem to see dimly through the mists which hang over the unwritten past.
THE vast streams of this Western Continent flowed over a nameless course during that mysterious past whose secrets we would so gladly unveil.
There are rivers on the globe, like the Jordan, the Euphrates, the Nile, the Tiber, which are known to have borne during thousands of years the names they bear to-day.
In the spring months of the year of grace, 1524, the good ship Dolphin, or more accurately, the Dauphineunder French colors, and commanded by John da Verrazano, the Florentine, came sailing northward along the mysterious coast of the new continent.
After coasting the sandy shores, noting the wild people with their dark complexions, thin, scanty garments of dressed skins and feathers, the grand old forests, the vines, the flowers, Verrazano came at length to a hilly region: "A very pleasant situation among small, prominent hillsthrough which a very large river, deep at its mouth, forced its way to the sea; from the sea to the estuary of the river any ship, heavily laden, might pass with the help of the tide, which rises eight feet.
Verrazano, in his letters to King Francis, had a great deal to say about the shores, the wild people, the forests, the fruits, the flowers; he declared that he had explored 700 leagues of coast, moving from a southern latitude northward, but strange to say, the "River of the Steep Hills" is the only stream he mentions.
He is said to have made a second voyage, with the view of colonizing the country. In 1529 a map appeared, drawn by his brother Jerome, from the navigator's charts, and on this map, at the mouth of the River of the Steep Hills, we find the name of "San Germano." The Palace of St.
But this Western hemisphere, shrouded in mystery, has no primeval names to repeat to us for the noble streams flowing from its heart.
The wild races, succeeding each other on their banks, no doubt gave temporary names to different portions of the greater streams, changing them with the succeeding conquest or flight of each tribe.
Their largest semi-civilized towns, when first discovered by the white race, were not found on the seacoast at the mouth of great rivers.