More about The Travels of William Bartram, 2013
William Bartram, from Pennsylvania, was a naturalist who studied the flora and fauna of the southern colonies of America. In 1773 he began a four- year journey of exploration where he recorded in his journals his desperate encounters with alligators and rattlesnakes and meetings with Native American Indians who showed him great kindness in his quest to study the plants and animals of their country. The Indian Chief of the Alachua band of the Seminole tribe dubbed him ‘Puc Pugee’, the flower hunter.
He returned to Philadelphia in January 1777 to assist in the running of the family’s botanical gardens and edit his remarkable journals, Travels through North and South Carolina, Georgia, East and 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. Widely read in America and Europe and influencing the romantic poets, William Wordsworth, Samuel Taylor Coleridge and François-René de Chateaubriand; the Travels have never been out of print since their first publication in the late 1780’s.
'…every insect is silenced, and nothing heard but the roaring of the approaching hurricane; the mighty cloud now expands its sable wings, extending from North to South, and is driven irresistibly on by the tumultuous winds, spreading his livid wings around the gloomy concave, armed with terrors of thunder and fiery shafts of lightning; now the lofty forests bend low beneath its fury, their limbs and wavy boughs are tossed about and catch hold of each other; the mountains tremble and seem to reel about, and the ancient hills to be shaken to their foundations: the furious storm sweeps along, smoking through the vale and over the resounding hills; the face of the earth is obscured by the deluge descending from the firmament, and I am deafened by the din of thunder; the tempestuous scene damps my spirits, and my horse sinks under me at the tremendous peals, as I hasten for the plain.'
- William Bartram