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TO MR. DUPONCEAU.
MONTICELLO, November 7, 1817. DEAR SIR, -A part of the information of which the expedition of Lewis and Clarke was the object, has been communicated to the world by the publication of their journal ; but much and valuable matter yet remains uncommunicated. The correction of the longitudes of their map is essential to its value; to which purpose their observations of the lunar distances are to be calculated and applied. The new subjects they discovered in the vegetable, animal, and mineral departments, are to be digested and made known. The numerous vocabularies they obtained of the Indian languages are to be collated and published. Although the whole expense of the expedition was furnished by the public, and the information to be derived from it was theirs also, yet on the return of Messrs. Lewis and Clarke, the government thought it just to leave to them any pecuniary benefit which might result from a publication of the papers, and supposed, indeed, that this would secure the best form of publication. But the property in these papers still remained in the government for the benefit of their constituents. With the measures taken by Governor Lewis for their publication, I was never acquainted. After his death, Governor Clarke put them, in the first instance, into the hands of the late Doctor Barton, from whom some of them passed to Mr. Biddle, and some again, I believe, from him to Mr. Allen. While the MS. books of journals were in the hands of Dr. Barton, I wrote to him, on behalf of Governor Lewis' family, requesting earnestly, that, as soon as these should be published, the originals might be returned, as the family wished to have them preserved. He promised in his answer that it should be faithfully done. After his death, I obtained, through the kind agency of Mr. Correa, from Mrs. Barton, three of those books, of which I knew there had been ten or twelve, having myself read them. These were all she could find. The rest, therefore, I presume, are in the hands of the other gentlemen. After the agency I had had in effecting this expedition, I thought myself
authorized, and, indeed, that it would be expected of me, that I should follow up the subject, and endeavor to obtain its fruits foi the public. I wrote to General Clarke, therefore, for authority to receive the original papers. He gave it in the letters to Mr. Biddle and to myself, which I now enclose. As the custody of these papers belonged properly to the War-Office, and that was vacant at the time, I have waited several months for its being filled. But the office still remaining vacant, and my distance rendering any effectual measures, by myself, impracticable, I ask the agency of your committee, within whose province I propose
I to place the matter, by making it the depository of the papers generally. I therefore now forward the three volumes of MS. journals in my possession, and authorize them, under General Clarke's letters, to inquire for and to receive the rest. So also the astronomical and geographical papers, those relating to zoological, botanical, and mineral subjects, with the Indian vocabularies, and statistical tables relative to the Indians. Of the astronomical and geographical papers, if the committee will be so good as to give me a statement, I will, as soon as a Secretary at War is appointed, propose to him to have made, at the public expense, the requisite calculations, to have the map corrected in its longitudes and latitudes, engraved and published on a proper scale ; and I will ask from General Clarke the one he offers, with his corrections. With respect to the zoological and mineralogical papers and subjects, it would perhaps be agreeable to the Philosophical Society, to have a digest of them made, and published in their transactions or otherwise. And if it should be within the views of the historical committee to have the Indian vocabularies digested and published, I would add to them the remains of my collection. I had through the course of my life availed myself of every opportunity of procuring vocabularies of the languages of every tribe which either myself or my friends could have access to. They amounted to about forty, more or less perfect. But in their passage from Washington to this place, the trunk in which they were was stolen and plundered, and some fragments only of the vocabularies were recovered. Still, however, they were such as would be worth incorporation with a larger work, and shall be at the service of the historical committee, if they can make any use of them. Permit me to request the return of General Clarke's letter, and to add assurances of my respect and esteem.
P. S. With the volumes of MS. journal, Mrs. Barton delivered one by mistake I suppose, which seems to have been the journal of some botanist. I presume it was the property of Dr. Barton, and therefore forward it to you to be returned to Mrs. Barton.
TO MR. CORREA.
POPLAR Forest, November 25, 1817. DEAR SIR,—I am highly gratified by the interest you take in our Central College, and the more so as it may possibly become an inducement to pass more of your time with us. It is even said you had thought of engaging a house in its neighborhood. But why another house? Is not one enough ? and especially one whose inhabitants are made so happy by your becoming their inmate? When you shall have a wife and family wishing to be to themselves, then the question of another house may be taken ad referendum. I wish Dr. Cooper could have the same partialities. He seems to have misunderstood my last letter; in the former I had spoken of opening our Physical School in the spring of '19, but learning that that delay might render his engagement uncertain, the visitors determined to force their preparations so as to receive him by midsummer next, and so my letter stated. In one I now write, I recall his attention to that circumstance. But his decision will no doubt be governed by the result of the proposition, to permit the medical students of Philadelphia to attend him. I can never regret any circumstance which may add to his well-being, for I most sincerely wish him well. That himself and Mrs. Cooper will be happier in the society of Philadelphia, cannot be doubted. It would be flattering
enough to us to be his second choice. I find from his information that we are not to expect to obtain in this country either a classical or mathematical professor of the first order ; and as our institution cannot be raised above the common herd of academies, colleges, &c., already scattered over our country, but by supereminent professors, we have determined to accept of no mediocrity, and to seek in Europe for what is eminent. We shall go to Edinburgh in preference, because of the advantage to students of receiving communications in their native tongue, and because peculiar and personal circumstances will enable us to interest Dugald Stewart and Professor Leslie, of that College, in procuring us subjects of real worth and eminence. I put off writing to them for a classical and mathematical professor only until I see what our legislature, which meets on Monday next, is disposed to do, either on the question singly of adopting our college for their university, or on that of entering at once on a general system of instruction, for which they have for some time been preparing. For this last purpose I have sketched, and put into the hands of a member a bill, delineating a practicable plan, entirely within the means they already have on hand, destined to this object. My bill proposes, 1. Elementary schools in every county, which shall place every householder within three miles of a school. 2. District colleges, which shall place every father within a day's ride of a college where he may dispose of his son. 3. An university in a healthy and central situation, with the offer of the lands, buildings, and funds of the Central College, if they will accept that place for their establishment. In the 1st will be taught reading, writing, common arithmetic, and general notions of geography. In the 2d, ancient and modern languages, geography fully, a higher degree of numerical arithmetic, mensuration, and the elementary principles of navigation. In the 3d, all the useful sciences in their highest degree. To all of which is added a selection from the elementary schools of subjects of the most promising genius, whose parents are too poor to give them further education, to be carried at the public expense through the colleges and university. The object is to
bring into action that mass of talents which lies buried in poverty in every country, for want of the means of development, and thus give activity to a mass of mind, which, in proportion to our population, shall be the double or treble of what it is in most countries. The expense of the elementary schools for every county, is proposed to be levied on the wealth of the county, and all children rich and poor to be educated at these three years gratis. The expense of the colleges and university, admitting two professors to each of the former, and ten to the latter, can be completely and permanently established with a sum of five hundred thousand dollars, in addition to the present funds of our Central College. Our literary fund has already on hand, and appropriated to these purposes, a sum of seven hundred thousand dollars, and that increasing yearly. This is in fact and substance the plan i proposed in a bill forty years ago, but accommodated to the circumstances of this, instead of that day. I derive my present hopes that it may now be adopted, from the fact that the House of Representatives, at their last session, passed a bill, less practicable and boundlessly expensive, and therefore alone rejected by the Senate, and printed for public consideration and amendment. Mine, after all, may be an Utopian dream, but being innocent, I have thought I might indulge in it till I go to the land of dreams, and sleep there with the dreamers of all past and future times.
I have taken measures to obtain the crested turkey, and will endeavor to perpetuate that beautiful and singular characteristic, and shall be not less earnest in endeavors to raise the Moronnier. God bless you, and preserve you long in life and health, until wearied with delighting your kindred spirits here, you may wish to encounter the great problem, untried by the living, unreported by the dead.