1803 Jefferson requests funding for Lewis and Clark expedition On this day in 1803, Thomas Jefferson requests funding from Congress to finance the Lewis and Clark expedition. Jefferson officially asked for $2,500 in funding from Congress, though some sources indicate the expedition ultimately cost closer to $50,000. Meriwether Lewis was joined by his friend William Clark and 50 others on the journey, including an African-American slave and a female Indian guide named Sacagawea. The team, which Jefferson called the Corps of Discovery, first surveyed the territory that comprised the Louisiana Purchase, a vast expanse that reached as far north as present-day North Dakota, south to the Gulf of Mexico and stopped at the eastern border of Spanish territory in present-day Texas. The team then crossed the Rockies and navigated river routes to the Pacific coast of present-day Oregon. Upon their return, the duo’s reports of the exotic and awe-inspiring new lands they had encountered sparked a new wave of westward expansion. Jefferson first proposed the exploratory expedition even before Napoleon offered to sell France’s American territory, which would become known as the Louisiana Purchase, to the United States and had authorization from Congress to launch a survey of the area when news of Napoleon’s offer to sell reached Washington. In a stroke of luck for the United States, Napoleon had abandoned plans to establish a French foothold on America’s southern flank and sold the land to the U.S. to subsidize his conquest of Europe. Though he did not disclose his intentions to Congress, Jefferson planned to send Meriwether Lewis, his private secretary, on a reconnaissance mission that far exceeded the boundaries of the Louisiana Purchase to determine how far west the U.S. might extend commerce in the North American fur trade and to assess the viability of future territorial expansion into the west. In misleading Congress, Jefferson had temporarily stifled his distaste for an abuse of executive privilege to achieve a strategic goal. A product of the Enlightenment, Jefferson was a man with strong political principles, but he was also fascinated by what the expedition might yield in terms of scientific discovery and adventure. Jefferson sought to claim more territory for the United States, eliminate foreign competition and convert the Indian nations to Christianity, viewing westward expansion as a way for the nation to maintain its agrarian values and to ward off the same political perils that plagued an increasingly overcrowded Europe. 1778 Cook discovers Hawaii 1778 Cook discovers Hawaii On January 18, 1778, the English explorer Captain James Cook becomes the first European to discover the Hawaiian Islands when he sails past the island of Oahu. Two days later, he landed at Waimea on the island of Kauai and named the island group the Sandwich Islands, in honor of John Montague, who was the earl of Sandwich and one his patrons. In 1768, Cook, a surveyor in the Royal Navy, was commissioned a lieutenant in command of the H.M.S. Endeavor and led an expedition that took scientists to Tahiti to chart the course of the planet Venus. In 1771, he returned to England, having explored the coast of New Zealand and Australia and circumnavigated the globe. Beginning in 1772, he commanded a major mission to the South Pacific and during the next three years explored the Antarctic region, charted the New Hebrides, and discovered New Caledonia. In 1776, he sailed from England again as commander of the H.M.S. Resolution and Discovery and in 1778 made his first visit to the Hawaiian Islands. Cook and his crew were welcomed by the Hawaiians, who were fascinated by the Europeans’ ships and their use of iron. Cook provisioned his ships by trading the metal, and his sailors traded iron nails for sex. The ships then made a brief stop at Ni’ihau and headed north to look for the western end of a northwest passage from the North Atlantic to the Pacific. Almost one year later, Cook’s two ships returned to the Hawaiian Islands and found a safe harbor in Hawaii’s Kealakekua Bay. It is suspected that the Hawaiians attached religious significance to the first stay of the Europeans on their islands. In Cook’s second visit, there was no question of this phenomenon. Kealakekua Bay was considered the sacred harbor of Lono, the fertility god of the Hawaiians, and at the time of Cook’s arrival the locals were engaged in a festival dedicated to Lono. Cook and his compatriots were welcomed as gods and for the next month exploited the Hawaiians’ good will. After one of the crewmembers died, exposing the Europeans as mere mortals, relations became strained. On February 4, 1779, the British ships sailed from Kealakekua Bay, but rough seas damaged the foremast of the Resolution, and after only a week at sea the expedition was forced to return to Hawaii. The Hawaiians greeted Cook and his men by hurling rocks; they then stole a small cutter vessel from the Discovery. Negotiations with King Kalaniopuu for the return of the cutter collapsed after a lesser Hawaiian chief was shot to death and a mob of Hawaiians descended on Cook’s party. The captain and his men fired on the angry Hawaiians, but they were soon overwhelmed, and only a few managed to escape to the safety of the Resolution. Captain Cook himself was killed by the mob. A few days later, the Englishmen retaliated by firing their cannons and muskets at the shore, killing some 30 Hawaiians. The Resolution and Discovery eventually returned to England. 1776 Georgia’s royal governor is arrested On the evening of January 18, 1776, the Council of Safety in Savannah, Georgia, issues an arrest warrant for the colony’s royal governor, James Wright. Patriots led by Major Joseph Habersham of the Provincial Congress then took Wright into custody and placed him under house arrest. Wright remained under guard in the governor’s mansion in Savannah until February 11, 1776, when he escaped to the British man-of-war, HMS Scarborough. After failing to negotiate a settlement with the revolutionary congress, he sailed for London. On December 29, 1778, Wright returned with troops and was able to retake Savannah. Although Georgia was never fully under his control, Wright again served as royal governor until July 11, 1782, when the British voluntarily abandoned Savannah before Continental General Mad Anthony Wayne could take the city by force. Wayne had already defeated British, Loyalist and allied Indian forces who, combined, outnumbered Patriots by at least 2 to 1, as he progressed through Georgia following the Battle of Yorktown. Facing likely defeat at Wayne’s hands, Wright retired to London, where he died on November 20, 1785. Wright was the only royal governor to successfully oversee the use of the hated stamps mandated by the Stamp Act of 1765. When Wright recaptured Savannah and was reinstated as the royal governor of Georgia in 1778, he also made Georgia the only colony to return to imperial rule following a Patriot uprising. Georgians seemed to be of mixed mind regarding independence–despite these instances of loyalty to the crown, Georgia was one of the first colonies to argue for a declaration of independence from Britain in early 1776.