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    Re: No Lunars Era
    From: Fred Hebard
    Date: 2004 Dec 8, 11:20 -0500

    \> I wrote earlier:
    > > There were PLENTY of people who could have been sent on that
    > >  expedition who had extensive practical experience with lunars. Hell,
    > >  they could have sent Nathaniel Bowditch! The failure of the navigation
    > >  observations on the Lewis & Clark expedition was a travesty, plain  and
    > > simple.
    > And Fred H replied:
    > "I don't agree. So what if they got the longitudes  screwed up?  They
    > managed to do the most important thing, help the U.S.  lay claim all the
    > way to the Pacific north of California.  The rivers  they navigated were
    > unambiguous; there was no need for the lunars to specify  which rivers
    > they were on.
    > They also managed to excite a great number  of people about the
    > Louisiana Purchase and  foster colonization of all  that land, leading
    > the way to Fort Astoria and the Oregon Trail."
    > Surely, Fred, you do not think I was suggesting that the entire expedition
    > was worthless. You might consider this though: what WAS the real reason for
    > instructing L&C to make exacting observations for latitude and longitude?  There
    > was some specific objective, above and beyond the otherwise highly
    > successful exploration. And considering the abject failure of most of those
    > navigational observations, what was the damage done to that specific  objective?
    Words like travesty when applied to one part of the expedition spill over into 
    other parts, such that the entire expedition is looked upon as a travesty.  I 
    don't know what was the objective for which Lewis & Clark took all those 
    sights.  Regardless, it is quite clear that the objective was not achieved.  
    It is quite clear that the preparation for this portion of the expedition was 
    not adequate.  It's unecesarry to call it a travesty.
    Furthermore, the subsequent successful surveying of the interior of the U.S. 
    proceeded properly under Jefferson's initiative, and was a major factor in 
    the orderly conquest of the remainder of the U.S.  So maybe they learned from 
    Lewis & Clark's failures.
    I could have used a more neutral word than "conquest" in the last paragraph.  
    It would have gotten the point across without derailing the discussion.  
    Likewise, you could have used a more neutral word than "travesty" in 
    describing the lack of success of the navigational portions of the Lewis and 
    Clark Expedition.

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