At Last The Key That Was To Open
The Mountain Fastnesses Of The Heart Of The Continent Had Been Found.
The names of the capes christened by Vancouver and re-christened by
Captain Gray have disappeared from our maps, but
In the words of one of
the numerous editors of the narrative of the exploring expedition of Lewis
and Clark: "The name of the good ship `Columbia,' it is not hard to believe,
will flow with the waters of the bold river as long as grass grows or water
runs in the valleys of the Rocky Mountains."
 Dr. Archibald McVickar.
It appears that the attention of President Jefferson had been early
attracted to the vast, unexplored domain which his wise foresight was
finally to add to the territory of the United States. While he was living
in Paris, as the representative of the United States, in 1785-89, he made
the acquaintance of John Ledyard, of Connecticut, the well-known explorer,
who had then in mind a scheme for the establishment of a fur-trading post on
the western coast of America. Mr. Jefferson proposed to Ledyard that the most
feasible route to the coveted fur-bearing lands would be through the Russian
possessions and downward somewhere near to the latitude of the then unknown
sources of the Missouri River, entering the United States by that route.
This scheme fell through on account of the obstacles thrown in Ledyard's
way by the Russian Government. A few years later, in 1792, Jefferson,
whose mind was apparently fixed on carrying out his project, proposed to
the American Philosophical Society of Philadelphia that a subscription should
be opened for the purpose of raising money "to engage some competent person
to explore that region in the opposite direction (from the Pacific coast), -
that is, by ascending the Missouri, crossing the Stony [Rocky] Mountains,
and descending the nearest river to the Pacific." This was the hint from
which originated the famous expedition of Lewis and Clark.
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