Clay bluffs above the Mandan villages on the Missouri.
While he was trying to
secure a 'right of deposit' in New Orleans for American farmers,
Jefferson feels out the Spanish envoy to Washington about sending
an expedition up the Missouri. The Spanish shrugged off the
suggestion, largely because many explorations had shown there was
no Northwest passage, and commercial opportunities had been
eclipsed by competition with the French and the British. What
the envoy didn't tell Jefferson was the Spanish king was about to
cede Louisiana back to France. What Jefferson didn't tell the
envoy was his plan to send explorers up the Missouri.
Thomas Jefferson, a man of extraordinary but contradictory
qualities, remains a true American enigma.