National Geographic : 1896 Aug
SPOTTSWOOD'S EXPEDITION OF 1716 tell that these processes wrought in the past (the long past whose hours are as millions of years) so persistently that they moved a mountain range and lined an ocean-side. The soil, too, tells of conquest over savages and beasts, of the blossoming of the wilderness at human behest, of the flowering of culture and the ripening of intellect, over all the fair and fertile plain wrought during the ages; but this story of man's dominion is writ clearer in the leaves of books than in the furrows of the fields. SPOTTSWOOD'S EXPEDITION OF 1716 By DR WILLIAM M. THORNTON, Chairman of the Faculty of the University of Virginia Nearly 180 years ago there was formed in the Old Dominion a prototype of the National Geographic Society. The governor of the colony, Alexander Spottswood-trained in Marlborough's legions and bearing honorable scars from Blenheim--was its head. Robert Beverly, the historian of Virginia; John Fontaine, the chronicler of their exploration, with Todd and Robinson and Taylor and Brooke and Mason, and other names famous in Vir ginian annals, were on the roll. The fortunate preservation of Fontaine's Journal, and its publication* in the Rev. Philip Slaughter's " History of St. Mark's Parish," makes it easy to attempt a reproduction of the story of this historic ride. Ten of these Virginian gentlemen, with four Indian guides and two small companies of rangers, assembled on August 26; 1716, at Germanna, on the banks of the Rappahannock, and set out thence to explore the passes of what they called the " highest ridge of mountains." " For this expedition," says the Rev. Hugh Jones, chaplain of the House of Burgesses, " they were obliged to provide a great quantity of horseshoes, things seldom used in the eastern part of Virginia, where there are no stones, upon which account the governor, upon his return, presented each of his companions with a golden horseshoe, with the inscription on one side-Sic juvat transcendere montes." Such was the badge of this early society of explorers, now. called in Virginian story the ' Knights of the Golden Horseshoe." One of these little golden memorials of that far-off time would *Due acknowledgment is rendered to this valuable monograph.