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to take possession of the province distinctly state the Rio Bravo (Rio Grande) as the western boundary. Jefferson, Madison, and Monroe, who were all intimately concerned in the purchase negotiations, believed that Texas was included. But we had no trans-Mississippi settlements as yet, and the claim on Texas was abandoned in the Spanish treaty of 1819, only to be revived again a quarter of a century later, in Polk's campaign cry for the “re-annexation of Texas.” With the Floridas the case was different. Large rivers from our Territory of Mississippi emptied along the Florida Gulf coast, and the control of this coast was necessary both for the outlet of our commerce and for the protection of our territory against Indian raids.
Into the complications of the Florida case we cannot enter here. Suffice it to say that neither Napoleon nor Monroe believed that Florida was included in the Louisiana Purchase. The former instructed his agent, Berthier, in August, 1800, to get Spain "to join to this cession (Louisiana) that of the two Floridas, Eastern and Western," and as late as the autumn of 1802 was still vainly urging King Charles to part with the Floridas. Monroe was on the point of setting out for Madrid, immediately after the conclusion of the treaty at Paris, to endeavor to buy the Floridas from Spain "for another million or two," when he was deterred by the French ministers, who had good reason for not advertising in Madrid their sale of Louisiana to the United States. These facts would seem to be proof enough that we did not purchase the Floridas in 1803. Yet Jefferson studied up the old boundaries of French, Spanish, and English claims in Florida during his summer rest at Monticello, and came to the (highly desirable) conclusion that we had purchased West Florida up to the Perdido River-the division be tween French and Spanish spheres of influence on the Gulf shore at the close of the seventeenth century. “I am satisfied our right to the Perdido is substantial,” he wrote to Secretary Madison on August 25, “and can be opposed by a quibble ... only.”
Encouraged by the administration in this further adventure in expansion, Congress in February, 1804, authorized the President to erect the "shores, waters, and inlets of the bay and river of Mobile" into a customs district; and on May 20 Jefferson, in spite of spirited protest from the Spanish minister at Washington, carried out the act by proclamation. The rest of the story of Florida is an illustration of La Fontaine's fable of the wolf and the lamb. Spain sank into a state of vassalage to France. The mighty Napoleon deposed her sovereign and set his own brother on the throne of Madrid. Her colonies in America revolted one by one and established their independence. Step by step we absorbed the valuable Gulf shore of Florida under Jefferson's suc
cessors, Madison and Monroe. In 1810 Madison proclaimed the annexation of West Florida; in 1812 that part of it west of the Pearl River was added to the newly created State of Louisiana; in 1813 the country was occupied as far as the Perdido; in 1818 General Jackson swept across East Florida to chastise the Seminole Indians; and finally, in 1819, a treaty was negotiated by which Spain withdrew from the Floridas altogether. Thomas Jefferson, in that piece of historical research at Monticello in the summer of 1803, was preparing the ground for Jackson's conquest. It was Jefferson's claim that Madison and Monroe extended and consummated.
Nor was Jefferson's vision of expansion bounded by the Rockies and the Gulf. We have already noticed his interest in the exploration of the Far West which antedated even the treaty of our independence. When Jefferson became President he took advantage of his position to push the matter. He sent a message to Congress on January 18, 1803 (just a week after the appointment of Monroe as special envoy to Paris), asking for an appropriation of twenty-five hundred dollars to send "an intelligent officer with 10 or 12 chosen men fit for the enterprise,” to explore "even to the Western Ocean," to get acquainted with the various Indian tribes, secure admission among them for our traders, and bring back geographical, zoological, and botanical knowledge of the land. With a quite naïve disregard of the ethics of sending an armed force through the territory of a friendly power, he says that the nation (Spain) claiming the region would be inclined to regard the expedition as "a literary pursuit,” and would not be jealous-"even if the expiring state of its interests there did not render it a matter of indifference.” The "intelligent officer" whom Jefferson had in mind to lead the expedition was his private secretary, Meriwether Lewis, whom he had tried to start on a similar expedition with the French explorer, Michaux, eleven years before. With Lewis he joined William Clark, a younger brother of George Rogers Clark, the hero of Vincennes. After a year of serious training, the expedition consisting of forty-five persons left camp on the Du Bois River, a little above St. Louis, for the long journey to the “Western Ocean.” They went up the Missouri in three boats, rowing and poling through the muddy stream, while their hunting horse followed along the bank.
No story in our history is more fascinating than the original records of the Lewis and Clark expedition, gathered with great diligence and edited in most attractive form by the late Professor R. G.
Thwaites, unless it be Francis Parkman's account of his repetition of the journey in "The Oregon Trail.” The instructions given to Lewis by Jefferson covered every possible topic of inquiry concerning the lands and tribes through which the explorers should pass; and the fidelity with which the chief and the members of the party kept their notes enables us to follow them day by day, almost hour by hour, up the Missouri to its source, across the “great divide" to the headwaters of the Columbia system, and down to what Clark in his homely, direct, ungrammatical style calls “the great Pacific Otean which we have been so long anxious to See and the roreing noise made by waves braking on the rocky Shores (as I suppose) may be heard distictly.” The party spent its second winter (1805-6) on the Pacific coast at the mouth of the Columbia, and, starting on the return trip in March, were back in St. Louis before the end of September, 1806. The Lewis and Clark Expedition was the first recorded passage of white men across the northern part of what is now the United States. It forms an important chapter in the history of our expansion, for not only did it lay a foundation for the scientific acquaintance with our newly acquired territory of Louisiana, but it proved the best of our claims to the great Oregon region beyond. So the other half of the slogan of Polk's campaign in 1844, the "reoccupation of Oregon” also goes back to the expansionist activities of Thomas Jefferson."
1 There is no evidence that Jefferson gave the directions to General Wilkinson for sending Zebulon Pike to find the headwaters of the Mississippi in 1805 or to explore the region south of the Arkansas and the Missouri in 1806, though, as Channing remarks of the later mission, “it seems unlikely that Wilkinson would have sent a de