Thrice I have attempted an exploring party
through this land of reputed pillars of salt
and other novelties of nature.
Each time thwarted.
Is there not a man with soul so brave
who dares to conquer this place of mastodons
to add volumes of knowledge
to man’s storehouse of fact
and prove the fictions true;
putting to rest the questioning of divine creation
and such notions of extinction of whole species of life
and generation of new?
I am now in position to bring the full force
of the American government,
modest as that may be,
to the preparation and journey.
But who will command the small party
to surely find a route to the far sea
stimulating commerce and settlement
so our nation may be secure and prosper?
Who knows the way of life on the frontier?
Who can deal with the inhabitants of this large unknown?
Who can adequately record
where they go
what they do
what they see?
Who can lead in such a manner
the men will willingly follow
wherever he thinks proper to go?
O, if all this and more can be done by a brave few
how mankind will gain.
Our small democracy still so fragile
could become strong to walk proudly,
a full partner in the world of nations.
Though I have only been
a few paces west of my Monticello
who would champion my cause
making my dreams, their dreams?