[JEFFERSON, Thomas -- STATE OF THE UNION ADDRESS, 1806]. Office of the Newport Mercury, Tuesday Morning, Dec.9, 1806. President's Message...[at end:] Th:Jefferson. [Newport: Ann Barber, 1806].
Folio broadside (17¾ x 11¼ in.), printed in four columns, roman and italic type. Lightly browned, very minor fraying at extreme edges, otherwise in very fine condition.
JEFFERSON'S 1806 STATE OF THE UNION ADDRESS, ANNOUNCING THE RETURN OF LEWIS AND CLARK, BURR'S CONSPIRACY AND CALLING FOR PROHIBITION OF THE SLAVE TRADE
A very rare, special broadside issue of this important and long-running Newport paper, entirely devoted to the text of Jefferson's important Annual Message to Congress, which was read before a joint session of Congress on 6 December 1806. In his message, Jefferson praises the accomplishments of intrepid explorers Meriwether Lewis and William Clark, who had just returned from their epic, two-year exploration of the newly annexed Louisiana Territory: "The expedition...for exploring the river Missouri, and the best communication from that to the Pacific Ocean, has had all the success which could have been expected. They have traced the Missouri nearly to its source, descended the Columbia to the Pacific Ocean, ascertained with accuracy the geography of that interesting communication across our continent, learnt the character of the country, of its commerce and inhabitants, and it is but justice to say that Messrs. Lewis & Clark, and their brave companions have, by this arduous service, deserved well of their country." He also notes the valuable results of additional overland explorations by Freeman (of the Red River) and Zebulon Pike (of the upper Mississippi, 1805-1806).
Jefferson also discusses the approching end of the Constitutional moratorium on the prohibition of the slave trade, due to expire in 1808: "I congratulate you, fellow citizens, on the approach of the period at which you may interpose your authority constitutionally, to withdraw the citizens of the United States from all further participation in those violations of human rights, which have been so long continued on the unoffending inhabitants of Africa, and which the morality, the reputation, and the best interests of our country, have long been eager to prescribe...." (By 1803, all the states had ended the importation of slaves, but in 1804 South Carolina repealed its prohibition, importing some 40,000 Africans in the four years before Congress, as Jefferson here suggests, enacted a general prohibition).
The President notes the recently exposed conspiracies of Burr and Wilkinson: "a great number of private individuals were combining together, arming and organizing themselves, contrary to law, to carry on a military expedition against the territories of Spain..." He terms this "the criminal attempts of private individuals to decide, for their country, the question of peace, or war, by commencing active, and unspecified hostilities." Such illegal efforts, he states, "should be promptly and efficaciously suppressed...."
He goes on to persuasively defend his Embargo Act, calls for "a national provision for education," reaffirms his policy of remaining neutral in the face of the European wars, and considers the need to establish a strong military presence at New Orleans and along the Mississippi.