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We have had two men in the presidential chair in the United States who were naturalists and who used their influence for the advance of scientific affairs-Thomas Jefferson and latterly Theodore Roosevelt. Of both these men the words by Jefferson, so often quoted, were true, "Nature intended me for the tranquil pursuits of science, by rendering them my supreme delight." That Jefferson received more blame than praise for his scientific work and that he is known in history only as a great statesman, but convinces us of the pioneer status of science a century ago and our greater enlightenment as to its value today (Regarding mastodon discoveries at Shawangunk, see note, page 496)
These elk horns were highly valued by Jefferson and were long at Monticello. The members of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, sent out as a direct result of Jefferson's interest in natural history and exploration, were the first white men to traverse the region now mapped as the states of Nebraska, North and South Dakota, Montana, Idaho, Washington, and Oregon. A memorial to Meriwether Lewis, leader of the expedition, is about to be inaugurated at Charlottesville, Virginia, his early home
JEFFERSON'S CONTRIBUTIONS TO NATURAL HISTORY
at the first opportunity. When John Ledyard reached Paris in 1786, Jefferson, who was there as minister of the United States, believed the hour of the great adventure had arrived. Ledyard had been with Cook on his voyage to the Pacific and had engaged in other adventurous undertakings. He was appraised by Jefferson as "a man of genius" and "of some science,” and the great American soon had him on the way to explore the western part of the North American continent. His itinerary was to take him through St. Petersburg to Kamchatka and thence to Nootka Sound. Ledyard's arrest by the Prussian government, which regarded the undertaking as impracticable, ended the enterprise, but not Jefferson's interest in it.
Six years later, in association with the American Philosophical Society, Mr. Jefferson, now Dr. Jefferson by the decrees of Yale and Harvard universities, promoted a subscription for the exploration of the West, and personally became responsible for a thousand guineas of the amount to be raised. André Michaux, the noted French botanist and traveler, and Meriwether Lewis, a youth of nineteen, who lived within ten miles of Jefferson's home in Albemarle County, Virginia, were chosen to make the westward journey. The letter of instructions, which was drawn with Jeffersonian care of details, discloses his interest in natural history. "Under the head of animal history," Michaux is told, "that of the mammoth is particularly recommended to your inquiries, as it is also to learn whether the Lama or Paca of Peru, is found in those parts of this continent." Whatever its motive, the French government interfered with the undertaking by charging Michaux with a mission relative to the occupation of Louisiana. Later the French minister canceled the appointment.
Ten years afterward Jefferson, then
President of the United States, decided that the exploration ought not to be delayed longer. In 1803 the continuance of the act for establishing trading houses with the Indian tribes was under consideration and the President seized upon the opportunity it afforded to propose to Congress, in a confidential message, a party to explore the Missouri to its source and thence to make its way to the Pacific. "... other civilized nations have encountered great expense to enlarge the boundaries of knowledge by undertaking voyages of discovery, and for other literary purposes," Mr. Jefferson contended. "The nation claiming the territory, regarding this as a literary pursuit,"-thus he advanced in his plan to persuade Congress "would not be disposed to view it with jealousy." The necessary appropriation for the enterprise could be charged to "the purpose of extending the external commerce of the United States," which the President would understand as legislative sanction. The bill was passed.
Meriwether Lewis, who was to accompany Michaux, had now been for two years private secretary of President Jefferson, by whom he had been appointed captain of the first regiment of infantry, and was eager to undertake the adventurous journey. "Of courage undaunted," Mr. Jefferson wrote of him, "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 principles; 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-with all these qualifications as if selected and implanted by nature in one body for this express purpose, I could have no hesitation in confiding the enterprise to him. To fill up the measure desired, he wanted nothing but a greater familiarity with the technical language of the natural sciences, and readiness in the astronomical observations necessary for the geography of his route. To acquire these he repaired immediately to Philadelphia, and placed himself under the tutorage of the distinguished professors of that place."
With Lewis Mr. Jefferson associated William Clark, a brother of George Rogers Clark, the Hannibal of the West, and, like him, a born leader of men, a soldier and an expert in woodcraft and in knowledge of Indian character. The other members of the party were fourteen United States soldiers, nine volunteers, Clark's colored valet (York), and an interpreter and his Indian wife.
The Lewis and Clark Expedition was a high adventure with vast results, whose characterization transcends the scope of a sketch. An abundant and thrilling literature has resulted, and will be increased. The first installment of the story was written-as was appropriate-by Mr. Jefferson in his message "communicating discoveries made in exploring the Missouri, Red river, and Washita by Captains Lewis and Clark."
1 George Rogers Clark, born in Virginia in 1752, won fame as soldier, surveyor, and Indian figl He was known as the conqueror of the large area northwest of the Ohio River, which was practically reclaimed from the warlike Indian tribes by him. He died in Kentucky February 18, 1818, and lies buried in an unmarked grave in Louisville.
While the record in books is ample, in marble and bronze it has been singularly scant, as in the case of Clark's elder brother, George Rogers Clark.
The members of the exploring party were the first white men to traverse the region now mapped as the states of Nebraska, North and South Dakota, Montana, Idaho, Washington and Oregon. Meriwether Lewis, the leader, who contributed to our knowledge of the customs, manners, and languages of the American Indians, has had until recently, so far as my information goes, a single visible memorial. In Lewis County, Tennessee, "in the midst of wild and romantic scenery, surrounded only by the native growth of the forest and where but few travelers pass, there stands a gray stone monument composed of native rock, with a shaft of limestone in imitation of a giant of the forest untimely broken," the tribute of the General Assembly of Tennessee rendered to Meriwether Lewis in 1848.2
Another memorial is now on the eve of inauguration in Charlottesville, Virginia, the home town of Lewis until he enlisted in the army at the time of the Pennsylvania whiskey insurrection. This monument, the work of Charles Keck, of New York, is a group in bronze, and commemorates the moment when Lewis and Clark had their first view of the Pacific. They stand at gaze, with Sacajawea, the squaw guide and only woman of the party, bending forward, intent on the scene. The group is the gift of Paul Goodloe MeIntire, of Charlottesville.
2 Since writing this I have been informed of a monument to Lewis and Clark in Portland, Oregon, but I have not been able to obtain facts relative to the artist or to the details of its erection.
War Impressions of French Bird Life
By LUDLOW GRISCOM
Member of the American Ornithologists' Union
Conditions for Bird Life in France
The first fact about the birds of France that impresses the traveler is the small number of species in any given area, coupled with the extraordinary abundance of individuals of some species and the equally marked scarcity of others. This is easily accounted for. In a country settled as long as France has been, the adaptive power of any given species to a changing environment has been tested with merciless severity. It is obvious, therefore, that any species successfully passing this test has flourished in proportion, while the species that has failed must be sought for in game preserves, government forest lands, and such more remote sections of country as have remained comparatively unaltered through the centuries.
Another factor has served only to accentuate this process of elimination. In France, whether legally or otherwise, almost every bird is a game bird, or at least has been game during a very long past and up to very recently. It follows, therefore, that birds, although abundant, are remarkably shy in a great many cases. An interesting comparison can here be made with conditions in England, where the song thrush, blackbird, and robin redbreast are familiar garden birds dear to the
hearts of the people. In France they are typical woodland birds, the two thrushes especially, so shy at times that they are about as easy to observe as a field mouse.
England has frequently been likened to a vast park. In the same spirit France could be likened to a huge wheat field or a vegetable garden neatly divided into little squares, hedges doing duty for fences. All western, northern, and central France is under a nearly maximum amount of cultivation, and the peasants cling each to his little patch of land with a passionate devotion which is a salient characteristic of the people. The bird lover, starting out from any given town in an effort to reach really good country, never gets there. All tempting patches of woodland in the distance turn out to be private parks with a high fence around. them, or government forêts, at best second or third growth, all the trees planted at the same time, of equal height, and so close together as to be almost impenetrable, through which the peasants are constantly wandering, plucking the dead twigs from the shrubs and picking up windfalls in a pathetic effort to reduce their fuel expenses. So it is not surprising that hawks and woodpeckers, and the brightly colored birds are scarce, as well as all woodland species of retiring habits.
The scarcity of large rivers and the canalization of nearly all the smaller ones have made all water birds normally occurring inland very local. To make a broad statement, water birds are relatively much more abundant along the coasts than in the United States, and are scarcer inland. As regards land birds, they are most numerous specifically in southern France,