Extract from Edgar Allan Poe’s Review of an Address, on the Subject of a Surveying and Exploring Expedition to the Pacific Ocean and South Seas
|[after Apr. 1836]|
The appalling weight of responsibility of those who serve their country in such an expedition, is strikingly illustrated by the instructions given to Lewis and Clarke, in 1803, by President Jefferson ... The sage, who had conceived and matured the plan of the expedition to the far west, in his instructions to its commander under his own signature, has left us a model worthy of all imitation ... The doubts of some politicians, that this government has no power to encourage scientific inquiry, most assuredly had no place in the mind of that great apostle of liberty, father of democracy, and strict constructionist! ... The character and value of that paper are not sufficiently known. Among all the records of his genius, his patriotism, and his learning, to be found in our public archives, this paper deserves to take, and in time will take rank, second only to the Declaration of our Independence. The first, imbodied the spirit of our free institutions, and self-government; the latter, sanctioned those liberal pursuits, without a just appreciation of which, our institutions cannot be preserved, or if they can, would be scarcely worth preserving.