Men travel faster now, but I do not know if they go to better things…They ravaged neither the rivers nor the forest and they took as little water as would serve their needs. The land and all that it bore they treated with consideration; not attempting to improve it, they never desecrated it… Willa Cather


Without noise of arms : the 1776 Dominguez-Escalante search for a route from Santa Fe to Monterey Flagstaff [Ariz.] : Northland Press, c 1976 Walter Briggs ; oil paintings by Wilson Hurley ; foreword by C. Gregory Crampton Dominguez-Escalante Expedition (1776) Hardcover. 1st. ed. ix, 212 p. : ill. ; 25 x 29 cm. Bibliography: p. 195-200. Includes index. Clean, tight and strong binding with clean dust jacket. No highlighting, underlining or marginalia in text. VG/VG

In July of 1776 two young Franciscan mis­sionaries led a party of eight other men on what was to become Spain’s ultimate thrust of colonial energy in the New World. Searching for a route from Santa Fe to the California presidio at Mon­terey, these ten men explored and adventured over more than two thousand miles of virgin territory in New Mexico, Colorado, Utah and Ari­zona, a distance greater than that covered by the Lewis and Clark Expedition three decades later.

The Dominguez-Escalante Expedition of 1776 was searching for a route from Santa Fe, New Mexico, to the Spanish settlement in Monterey, California. The members of the expedition never reached their destination, turning back in northwestern Utah.

Their circuitous route took them over some of the most beautiful and inhospitable terrain in the Western Hemisphere. Unknowingly, they roved the Great Basin and became the first white men to successfully attempt a crossing of the Colorado River canyons. During the five months of their wayfaring they would meet and deal peacefully with more than a dozen Indian tribes, many of whom had never seen their like before. Travel­ing “without noise of arms,” the Dominguez-Escalante Expedition would come to represent one of the bright chapters in the journal written by European man on this continent.

A view of the Dominguez-Escalante expedition entering Utah Valley, painted by Paul Salisbury.

The extensive daily chronicle kept by Fray Silvestre Velez de Escalante, and which later served as the official report of the Expedition, is the basis for much of Walter Briggs’s source material. Ex­cerpts from the Franciscan’s log provide a fasci­nating picture of the Expedition and its members. Landscape artist Wilson Hurley’s oil paintings, of which ten are reproduced in these pages, were created as he traveled the route taken by those ten unique men two hundred years ago.

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