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ica; and in 1792, he proposed to the American Philosophical Society to effect the same object by subscription. It was actually undertaken by
Michaux, the well known botanist, under the auspices of the society; but after proceeding as far as Kentucky, his purpose was countermanded by the French minister in the United States; for he, as we are informed, did not confine himself to geographical and scientific matters, but engaged in the political agitations and schemes in addition.
On the 18th of January, 1803, the president sent a confidential message to Congress, containing a recommendation on this subject, in consequence of which, an appropriation was made for defraying the expense of an exploring expedition overland to the Pacific. Mr. Jefferson, as his biographer says, "considered that the United States would be justly subject to the reproach of the scientific world, if they longer delayed to obtain more accurate geographical knowledge of the western wilderness, —a country highly interesting in itself, and which their people were destined one day to overspread. He was perhaps yet further stimulated to obtain a more accurate knowledge of the country, because he had a hope of obtaining it, sooner or later, from France." "In looking about for a fit person to conduct this enterprise, no one presented himself to his mind possessed of so many of the requisite qualifications as Captain Meriwether Lewis, who, reared in his neighborhoodj had been long known to him, and had for nearly two years acted as his private secretary. His character is thus faithfully sketched by
Mr. Jefferson, in a memoir of his life, prepared for the posthumous narrative of the expedition: 'Of courage undaunted; possessing a firmness and perseverance of purpose, which nothing but impossibilities could divert from its direction; careful as a father of those committed to his charge, yet steady in the maintenance of order and discipline; intimate with the Indian character, customs and princi
ples; habituated to the hunting life; guarded, by exact observation of the vegetables and animals of his own country, against losing time in the description of objects already possessed; honest, disinterested, liberal, of sound understanding, and a fidelity to truth so scrupulous, that whatever he should report would be as certain as if seen by ourselves.'"
The judgment displayed in this selection, was justified by the event. The exploring party, exclusive of a small escort as far as the Mandans, consisted of twenty-eight individuals, carefully selected, exclusive of Captain Lewis and Captain Jonathan Clarke, who was second in command. This gentleman was the brother of George Rogers Clarke, and partook of his capacity to endure hardship and brave dangers, as well as his practical good sense. With his own hand the president prepared a set of instructions for Captain Lewis, which seem to embrace every object of importance which might demand his attention.
A passage or two from these "Instructions" will serve to display the spirit under which Jefferson wished the party to proceed on its interesting work.
In all your intercourse "with the natives, treat them in the most friendly and conciliatory manner which their own conduct will admit; allay all jealousies, as to the object of your journey; satisfy them of its innocence; make them acquainted with the position, extent, character, peaceable and commercial dispositions of the United States; of our wish to be neighborly, friendly, and useful to them, and of our dispositions to a commercial intercourse with them; confer with them on the points most convenient as mutual emporiums, and the articles of most desirable interchange, for them and for us. . . . Carry with you some matter of the kine-pox; inform those of them with whom you may be, of its efficacy as a preservative from the small-pox, and instruct and encourage them in the use of it. This may be especially done wherever you winter." "To your own discretion must be left the degree of danger you may risk, and the point at which you should decline ; only saying, we wish you to err on the side of your safety, and to bring back your party safe, even if it be with less information."*
The larger part of the year was spent in making preparations for the expedition, and it was thought best that it should not enter the Missouri till the
* Lacepede, writing to Jefferson on this topic, seems almost to have caught a glimpse of the wonderful dei velopments of the future: "If your nation," he says, '"can establish an easy communication by rivers, canals, and short portages, between New York (for example) and a city that must be built at the mouth of the Columbia, what a route for the commerce of Europe, Aria, and America/"
spring. About the middle of May, 1804, the party left the banks of the Mississippi. We may mention in the present connection, that the journey of this brave-hearted band, from the mouth of the Missouri, by the Columbia to the Pacific Ocean, and back, occupied them for twenty-eight months and ten days; and they richly merited the eulogy of the president, which we find in his message at the opening of Congress, in December, 1806. "They have traced the Missouri nearly to its source, descended the Columbia to the Pacific Ocean, ascertained with accuracy the geography of that interesting communication across our continent, learnt the character of the country, of its commerce and inhabitants; and it is but justice to say, that Messrs. Lewis and Clarke, and their brave companions have, by this arduous service, de-served well of their courtr try!"
During the second session of the seventh Congress, few acts of general interest were passed. The most important was a law (February 17 th) to prevent the importation of negroes, mulattoes, or other persons of color, (not being natives, citizens, or seamen, of the United States, or seamen, natives of countries beyond the Cape of Good Hope,) into any part of the United States, within a state which had prohibited, by law, the admission of any such negro, or person of color; under penalty of one thousand dollars,
and the forfeiture of the vessel in which such person was imported. The time had not then arrived when the importation of slaves was prohibited bv the Constitution, and this law was passed in conformity to the laws of certain states which had been passed to prohibit the importation of slaves.* An amendment to the Constitution was proposed and debated in committee of the whole, but not having obtained the majority of two-thirds, was laid over till the following year. The object was, to prevent the recurrence of such a contingency as occurred at the last election of president and vice-president.
The president's recommendation to repeal the discriminating duties, did not, as Mr. Tucker states, receive the approbation of Congress. The merchants of New York and Philadelphia petitioned against this repeal, and the subject, although debated, was never acted upon. The petitioners, says the same writer, "had tried the effect of mutual burdens on the trade between them and foreign nations, but they had not made the experiment of mutual exemption; and supposing the discriminations to be equal, it is not easy to see, why the advantage to American vessels of a lower tonnage duty at home, would not be counterbalanced by the disadvantage of a higher duty abroad, in every voyage outward and homeward. In truth, all these discriminations, which operate as a bounty on some by the exclusion of others, are hurtful to the whole mercantile interest, and operate to lessen the amount of trade, by requiring a greater capital to carry it on, by narrowing the sphere of competition, and by lessening the
* See Benton's "Abridgement of the Debates of Congress" Vol ii., pp. 725, 742.
total amount of imports and exports.
We may, therefore, fairly infer, that
whenever nations shall clearly see their
interests, and be content to pursue them
without jealousy or other bias, they will
act on the principle recommended by
Mr. Griswold, of Connecticut, made
a party movement in order to
, . J . . A, 1§03.
bring suspicion upon the management of the treasury. He proposed | an inquiry, when the session had almost reached its close, into the appropriation of the whole of the $7,300,000 to the discharge of the public debt, by the commissioners of the sinking fund; suggesting that it had not all been so applied. But this recrimination met with no better success than it deserved; Gallatin replied to the inquiries so fully, so clearly, and so promptly, as to gain a! new triumph for the administration, out of what had been designed to involve! them in perplexity, if not to cover them with shame. On the 3d of March, the seventh Congress reached its termination, and the attention of the people was bestowed upon the elections which went on during the summer.
On a previous page (p. 43) we have mentioned the opening of the eighth Congress, in October, 1803. At an early day of this session, an amendment to the Constitution (spoken of above) was proposed, relative to the election of president and vice-president, so as to designate the person voted for as presi
* Tucker's "Life of Jefferson," voL II., p. 134. The biographer of the third president takes occasion also to point out "the small game" which the republican party were after, in decrying and attempting to destroy the mint, at this time. See p. 137.
dent or as vice-president, instead of the existing article, which required the electors to vote for two persons for these offices, of whom the one who had the highest number of votes was to be president.* This amendment, according to Mr. Tucker, "was vehemently opposed in both Houses by the opposition, but was finally earned by the requisite vote of two-thirds in both Houses. The change was opposed on the ground that it would, by means of party intrigue, favor the election of a vice-president who would be unfit to discharge the office of president; that the election by the House of Representatives might not be expected to be of frequent recurrence, and when it was, if they should choose the person who was least fit, it would be a salutary warning to both parties, to bestow their votes, in all cases, on persons properly qualified; that a change of the Constitution was, of itself, an evil, and was likely to prevent the veneration, which time, and time alone, confers; and that it was better to submit to a partial evil, than risk one yet greater in an untried experiment."
Notwithstanding the efforts of the opposition, the amendment was earned, and during the year 1804, it was ratified by the legislatures of three-fourths of the states, as required by the Constitution. Only Massachusetts, Connecticut. and Delaware, refused assent
* For the speeches in the Senate, December 2,1803, of Uriah Tracy against, and of John Taylor, in favor of this amendment to the Constitution, see Williston's "Eloquence of the United States," voL ii., pp. 320-63. See also Benton's "Abridgement of t7te Delates of Congress" voL iii., pp. 30-37; 57-60.
to the change. On the 25th of September, the secretary of state gave public notice of this amendment having been duly adopted and ratified*
The president had never looked with favor upon the bankrupt law, which was enacted during one of the last years of Mr. Adams's administration; and it was at his instance, and with his hearty concurrence, that the law was repealed by Congress. "As this law authorized a majority of the creditors to discharge a bankrupt trader from all his preceding debts, it was regarded by many of the other classes of men, as an invidious privilege to the mercantile community; especially in the southern states, where the agricultural pursuits are predominant; and as it was found, that by the power of making discriminations in favor of some creditors, and in fact of making surreptitious creditors, there was no difficulty in general, in obtaining the sanction of the requisite majority for the debtor's discharge, the law was condemned as affording but too much encouragement to fraud, waste, and a rash spirit of adventure." On this account, it was not regarded with favor by a large portion of the people, while, at the same time, those engaged in commercial pursuits, strongly urged that some law of the kind was absolutely necessary to a nation as extensively engaged as are the United States, in trade and commerce. The repeal was carried in the House, by a vote of ninety-nine to thirteen.
It will be recollected by the reader, that the anti-federalists had vehemently
* For this amendment, see voL ii., pp. 236, 37.
opposed the creation of the Bank of the United States, respecting which, we have already given a full account in our second volume, (pp. 295-302.) Mr. Jefferson's sentiments accorded fully with those of the party whose leader he now was; and his antagonism to this institution was none the less active since hia accession to the chiefmagistracy. In writing to Mr. Gallatin, he expresses himself as firmly convinced that the Bank of the United States is an institution "most deadly hostile to the principles and forms of the Constitution." Tins he undertakes to demonstrate thus: "That it is hostile we know, 1. From a knowledge of the principles of the persons composing the body of directors in every bank, principal or branch; and those of most of the stockholders. 2. From their opposition to the measures and principles of the government, and to the election of those friendly to them: and, 3. From the sentiments of the newspapers they support. Now, while we are strong," he goes on to say, "it is the greatest duty we owe to the safety of our Constitution, to bring this powerful enemy to a perfect subordination under its authorities. The first measure would be, to reduce them to an equal footing only with other banks, as to the favors of the government. But in order to be able to meet a general combination of the banks against us in a critical emergency, could we not make a beginning towards an independent use of our own money? towards holding our own deposits in all the banks where it is received, and letting the treasurer give his draft or note for payment at any
particular place, which, in a well-conducted government, ought to have as much credit as any private draft, or bank note, or bill, and would give us the same facilities which we derive from the banks?" Very likely, as Mr. Tucker suggests, Andrew Jackson availed himself of this hint at a later day, when he had resolved upon his course with respect to the last Bank of the United States.
In regard to the dangers arising from the existence of a national bank, we think that the president's biographer speaks with as much truth as candor. His sentiments, considering his .political views, are worthy of note. "The public danger from such an institution," he says, " on which Mr. Jefferson's hostility rested yet more than on its supposed unconstitutionality, appears to have been egregiously overrated by him. The power of so wealthy a corporation, using all its money in loans, and able by its high credit, so to multiply its money, would indeed be formidable if it were possessed of a monopoly; but as its privileges were shared with other banks, and as those created by the states were everywhere equal or superior in wealth to the branches of the United States Bank, its power of doing mischief is almost neutralized, while that of rendering faculties to commerce remains. It would seem to furnish a conclusive argument against the imagined extent of their power, that it was not sufficient, in 1811, to preserve its own existence; and that its successor, with far more ample means and resources, and directed, according to its enemies, with an unexampled unity and