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The Jeffersonian cyclopedia;

a comprehensive collection of the views of Thomas Jefferson classified and arranged in alphabetical order under nine thousand titles relating to government, politics, law, education, political economy, finance, science, art, literature, religious freedom, morals, etc.;
3 occurrences of jefferson cyclopedia
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4638. LEWIS AND CLARK EXPEDITION, Jefferson suggests.—
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3 occurrences of jefferson cyclopedia
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4638. LEWIS AND CLARK EXPEDITION, Jefferson suggests.—

The river Missouri,
and the Indians inhabiting it, are not
as well known as is rendered desirable by their
connection with the Mississippi, and consequently
with us. It is, however, understood,
that the country on that river is inhabited by
numerous tribes, who furnish great supplies of
furs and peltry to the trade of another nation,
carried on in a high latitude, through an infinite
number of portages and lakes, shut up
by ice through a long season. The commerce
on that line could bear no competition with that
of the Missouri, traversing a moderate climate,
offering, according to the best accounts, a continued
navigation from its source, and possibly
with a single portage, from the Western Ocean,
and finding to the Atlantic a choice of channels
through the Illinois or Wabash, the Lakes
and Hudson, through the Ohio and Susquehanna,
or Potomac or James rivers, and through
the Tennessee and Savannah rivers. An intelligent
officer, with ten or twelve chosen men,
fit for the enterprise, and willing to undertake
it, taken from our posts, where they may be
spared without inconvenience, might explore the
whole line, even to the Western Ocean; have
conferences with the natives on the subject of
commercial intercourse; get admission among
them for our traders, as others are admitted;
agree on convenient deposits for an interchange
of articles; and return with the information required,
in the course of two summers. Their
arms and accoutrements, some instruments of
observation, and light and cheap presents for the
Indians, would be all the apparatus they could
carry, and with an expectation of a soldier's portion
of land on their return, would constitute
the whole expense. Their pay would be going
on, whether here or there. While other civilized
nations, have encountered great expense to enlarge
the boundaries of knowledge, by undertaking
voyages of discovery, and for other literary
purposes, in various parts and directions, our
nation seems to owe to the same object, as well
as to its own interests, to explore this, the only
line of easy communication across the continent,
and so directly traversing our own part
of it. The interests of commerce place the
principal object within the constitutional powers
and care of Congress, and that it should incidentally
advance the geographical knowledge of
our continent, cannot be but an additional gratification.
The nation claiming the territory, regarding
this as a literary pursuit, which it is in
the habit of permitting within its Dominions,
would not be disposed to view it with jealousy,


Page 496
even if the expiring state of its interests there
did not render it a matter of indifference. The
appropriation of two thousand five hundred dollars
“for the purpose of extending the external
commerce of the United States”, while understood
and considered by the Executive as giving
the legislative sanction, would cover the undertaking
from notice, and prevent the obstructions
which interested individuals might otherwise
previously prepare in its way.—
Confidential Message. Washington ed. viii, 243. Ford ed., viii, 201.
(Jan. 1803)