The Philadelphians were also distinguished faculty members of the University of Pennsylvania. These quotations are from Jefferson to Lewis, Washington, D. For an excellent review of postexpedition history of the numerous plant and animal specimens, Indian artifacts, and other objects collected see Paul Russell Cutright, Lewis and Clark, Pioneering Naturalists Urbana: University of Illinois Press, , — University of Nebraska Press, , 1— McCalla and Stovely, , Small, , 33— Skernett, [the society's first printed catalog]; and Catalogue of the American Philosophical Society Library, 4 parts Philadelphia: Michael Kammen, Mystic Chords of Memory: Knopf, , APS, , 44—45, 49, and The following discussion of Coues's publication and three modern editions is taken from Edward C.
APS, , 17— Reuben Gold Thwaites, ed. North American Scientific Exploration to , ed. APS, , —, — As the APS librarian, Carter also organized and directed the conference. The final selections were William Clark Codex A journal 13 May—14 August getting the expedition under way up the Missouri ; Meriwether Lewis Codex E journal 24 May—16 July going westward from the Mandan villages up the Missouri to the Great Falls and around them ; and Meriwether Lewis Codex J journal 1 January—20 March damp and rainywinter at Fort Clatsop with splendid summary of flora and fauna, descriptions of northwestern coastal tribes, and preparations for the homeward journey.
See Carter, introductory booklet, Three Journals, 19— The Lewis and Clark expedition, like the adventures in the Epic of Gilgamesh and the Odyssey, was a trek into an unfamiliar and often frightening wilderness—the first, longest, and largest of nineteenth-century United States government expeditions into terra incognita. Louis in in a foot masted keelboat and two pirogues carrying more than 8, pounds of food and equipment, the Voyage of Discovery, as it was called, lasted two years, four months, and ten days.
Round-trip, it covered 7, miles between the mouth of the Missouri River and the Pacific outlet of the Columbia River. To a young nation—the United States was barely seventeen years old at the time—Lewis and Clark brought back maps of previously uncharted rivers and mountains, specimens of previously unknown plants and animals, amazing artifacts, and even representatives of previously unseen peoples of the West. Written in an odd, fragmented style that vacillated between the languages of art and science in accordance with the aesthetic expectations of the day, these remarkable journals offered a new natural history of the West.
More significant—and surprising—is that the strange, vacillating style of the journals came to characterize the entire genre of American nature writing in the nineteenth century. Edited by Gary E. Moulton, professor of history at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, this joint venture of several institutions and numerous scholars, the product of both private and government funding, came to completion just shy of the bicentennial of the —06 expedition. But what about students and teachers of American literature? Do these expeditionary materials stimulate their interest with the same intensity as that of historians, scientists, and geographers?
If for an answer we turn to current canon-forming literary histories and college anthologies, the response would be no. In a multistyled language as distinctive as those that characteristically identify ancient epics, they tell a heroic story of a people's struggles through a wilderness and the return home.
They tell the story of the tribe, moving west. Not the conventional mythic story of the lone frontiersman facing the wilderness, this tale depicts a cooperative enterprise: To Lewis and Clark themselves, however, and the expectant readers of their time, the account of this particular epic followed the format of a work in natural history that conformed to a well-established New World genre. For the natural historians of the Americas, observable phenomena included landforms, water bodies, minerals, plants, mammals, birds, reptiles, fishes, amphibians, invertebrates—all the expected and unexpected flora and fauna—as well as the commodities and manners of the people in these areas, especially those native inhabitants of the Americas known as Indians.
Lewis and Clark were heirs to this genre that, in the eighteenth century, despite increasing specialization in the sciences, remained for the most part a branch of literature. It seems only appropriate that this remarkable work, given the importance of its genre to the New World, was arguably the first book published in the United States to become internationally recognized as a literary classic. That type of comprehensive book, with its particular fusion of scientific and literary concerns, was what Jefferson had in mind for Lewis and Clark.
A fine naturalist himself, with a particular interest in phenology the study of relationships between climate and periodic biological phenomena , Jefferson gave the explorers careful written instructions for observing and recording in detail the natural world. As a result, Jefferson's influence informs the journals like that of a muse. The Voyage of Discovery was his dream, and the journals his inspiration.
For twenty years he had sought to have someone do what Lewis and Clark were finally accomplishing. As a congressman in , Jefferson had unsuccessfully tried to enlist General George Rogers Clark, the Revolutionary War hero and William's older brother, to explore the lands west of the Mississippi. As minister to France in , Jefferson supported the Connecticut adventurer John Ledyard in his daring but frustrated attempt to cross the continent by traveling eastward over Siberia and the Bering Sea and then walking from the Pacific Coast, over the Rockies, to the Missouri River.
For the more demanding trek across the continent, Jefferson had had his eye on young Meriwether Lewis ever since the nineteen-year-old boy requested Jefferson's permission to accompany Michaux to the Pacific. For two years before the expedition, Lewis had virtually lived with Jefferson, serving ostensibly as the president's private secretary while training to lead the Corps of Discovery.
All the latter qualifications Capt. They were not scientific specialists; the word scientist in its modern sense had not yet been invented. They were natural historians whose range encompassed all of nature. The strange landforms and new watercourses the explorers encountered were the primary concerns of Clark, who served as the main cartographer and geographer, while Lewis was the botanist and zoologist. Both compiled a valuable ethnographic record of Indian people, especially of the Lemhi Shoshone, whose meeting with Lewis and Clark marked their first encounter with whites.
In the writing of this natural history faced political obstacles. The vast stretch of lands that Jefferson wanted documented was still a foreign territory subject to murky claims by Great Britain, Spain, France, and Russia. He also couched his secret congressional request for exploratory funds in careful terms. In addition to increasing the literary store of natural history, he was interested in looking for possible trade routes, he told Congress, for external commerce.
Everyone knew otherwise, especially the European powers who were anxious to keep the original colonies of the United States tidily contained along the continental eastern seaboard. Jefferson's grand design, they knew, was imperial, to make way for American expansion from sea to shining sea. As with earlier accounts of American explorers, the enterprises of natural history writing and colonization became intertwined. The United States suddenly doubled its holdings, and expansion to the Pacific became a virtual certainty. Lewis and Clark failed in their primary commercial purpose of finding a practical water route across the continent to link the United States in trade with China.
There was no Northwest Passage. They also failed to establish workable routes up the northern tributaries of the Missouri to capture the Canadian fur trade for the United States. And they failed to establish a lasting peace with the native peoples, especially those who controlled passage on the Missouri, and the killing of two Blackfeet warriors actually aggravated relations with tribes of the Northern Plains. It is also questionable how firmly the expedition reinforced the nation's claim to the Oregon territory. The president envisioned a revised, polished version of the raw journals, similar to the literate accounts of Bartram's travels and Captain Cook's voyages.
Responsibility for the edition shifted to Clark, then serving as Indian agent for the Louisiana Territory, who engaged the Philadelphia lawyer and self-styled litterateur Nicholas Biddle to deal with the journals. In the redoubtable ornithologist and military surgeon Elliott Coues edited Biddle's history with massive annotations that brought attention to the previously neglected scientific material.
In the process, however, Coues took liberty in emending the original journals, and his numerous interlineations on the manuscript earned him the derision of later scholars despite his valuable editorial achievement. Coues, however, wasn't the only person who had left his smudges on the pages. At the turn of the century, on the eve of the Lewis and Clark centennial, when the American Philosophical Society authorized a verbatim edition of the original journals, the manuscripts were a palimpsest of interlineations and emendations in different shades of ink by Coues, Biddle, Clark, and at least one other unknown person.
Biddle's notes in red reflected his own words as well as those of George Shannon, a member of the expedition who, along with Captain Clark, had helped Biddle in his interpretation of the journals. The American Philosophical Society considered asking the Western writer Owen Wister to edit the manuscripts, but it finally selected the historian Reuben Gold Thwaites, who had just edited the 73 volumes of the Jesuit Relations — Thwaites chose to reproduce the journals in their current markedup state, using a variety of typographic pyrotechnics to indicate authorship of most emendations and interlineations except extensive ones by Coues.
I have hovered over this history of the manuscripts because the new Journals of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, edited by Moulton, expands and updates the —05 Thwaites edition. As in Thwaites's edition, chapter divisions follow the chronological and geographic demarcations inherited from Biddle's edition, and the journals of enlisted men are consigned to separate volumes.
Lewis and Clark Expedition
Like Thwaites, Moulton has identified emendations and interlineations in the text; only he adds the emender's italicized initials. Moulton relies on reproductions of the Thwaites text as scanned by the optical character recognition OCR process but checked, for the first time in a century, against the original journals to ensure accurate transcription. In the last ninety years, misplaced or lost expeditionary documents, unavailable to Thwaites, have been found and published, most notably Lewis and Clark's eastern journal and Sergeant Ordway's three-volume journal, edited by Milo Milton Quaife.
Other valuable materials became available in with the publication of Donald Jackson's Letters of the Lewis and Clark Expedition with Related Documents, — Moulton's stated purpose is to gather these scattered materials into the first comprehensive, collated edition with a reliable, definitive text and a thorough, uniform annotation. No newly discovered, previously unpublished materials appear in this edition.
Accurate transcription is the primary task. A comparison of sample passages from the Thwaites and Moulton editions exhibits the measure of care taken in rendering an accurate text. Here is Thwaites's transcription of Lewis's well-known departure from the Mandan villages for the great unknown after sending the keelboat with 18 men and important expeditionary materials back to St. Louis on 7 April Our vessels consisted of six small canoes, and two large perogues. Cook, were still viewed by us with as much pleasure as those deservedly famed adventurers ever beheld theirs; and I dare say with quite as much anxiety for their safety and preservation.
Cook were still viewed by us with as much pleasure as those deservedly famed adventurers ever beheld theirs; and I dare say with quite as much anxiety for their safety and preservation. Moulton has made nine alterations in vocabulary, spelling, and punctuation. The slight difference between the two renditions, hardly noticeable to the normal reader, demonstrates that Thwaites did a good job in his original transcriptions, but Moulton's are even better.
No one can anticipate when a minuscule alteration might significantly affect interpretation, and care in transcription now gives scholars a text to rely on. The same care is extended to the correction of Thwaites's notations. For example, Thwaites's binomial identification of a Lewis zoological discovery misnames the bushy-tailed woodrat as Neotama cinera 2: The few typographic errors that appear in the new edition pop out of the editorial scaffolding rather than the texts themselves, where, I assume, editors properly applied more scrupulous proofreading.
Better suited to the scholar's desk than the reader's lap, these boxy books are less friendly to the general reader than is the Thwaites's edition with its compressed, old-fashioned print. Thwaites's notes, skimpy as they may be, do appear conveniently at the bottom of the page, a good place for many brief items that simply identify geographic location or the scientific denominations of plants and animals.
Moulton's blocks of notes at the conclusion of daily entries, rather than in footnotes or chapter endnotes, are not always easy to locate, and their varied appearance within the text at the top, middle, or bottom of a page creates much shuffling back and forth between text and annotation. In his arrangement of texts, however, Moulton has done a significant service by moving materials that were chronologically out of place in the Thwaites edition.
In other instances, however, interspersion of new materials, particularly from Clark's field notes, is not clearly noted. In the Moulton edition a passage about the Mandan by William Clark for 30 March , in part, reads: This passage is absent from Thwaites, but whether the earlier editor neglected to transcribe it or whether the passage has been inserted into the journal from Clark's rediscovered field notes is not made clear.
In other instances, one wishes controversial interpretations of transcriptions were noted. But Moulton offers no commentary on nomenclature that has puzzled historians since the appearance of the Original Journals of Lewis and Clark ninety years ago. In hundreds of footnotes, the staff will clarify and expand upon the manuscript diaries. If we were to edit the journals only in terms of placing the original material into print we could complete the project in short order, even considering the extreme care we will give to this dimension.
The editorial staff relied not only upon published scholarship for its annotations but also upon direct consultation with experts in various fields around the country. The result is a fund of information gleaned from anthropologists, archaeologists, astronomers, botanists, geologists, geographers, ornithologists, cartographers, historians, linguists, and zoologists.
Identifications of plants, animals, people, places, and events along the route are excellent, but notes occasionally reflect incomplete assimilation of such varied sources. For example, in the sections on the Lemhi Shoshone the staff relied on the noted linguist and anthropologist Sven Liljeblad for clarification of Shoshone words and phrases. Information about the Lemhi Shoshone as a group, however, is spotty despite the extensive account Lewis and Clark provided. Today, however, both groups are still compositely referred to in the Shoshone language as Agaideka.
The excellent note about the Hidatsa amounts to a concise interpretive essay 3: As one wrestled with the boxed set of maps in the Thwaites edition, it was difficult to make heads or tails out of the sometimes mislabeled, accordion-pleated reproductions of poor quality. In contrast, the first volume of the Moulton edition is a foliosize Atlas of the Lewis and Clark Expedition reproducing in facsimile on thick, creamy pages the maps Clark sketched on the expedition, those the captains consulted beforehand, and those executed after the trip, all clearly organized, labeled, and described.
It is a beautiful set. Many were unavailable or unknown to Thwaites. Of the maps in the atlas, are at original size, and 42 have never been previously published. Many of Clark's lost maps have been reproduced from accurate copies of his originals prepared for the expedition of the naturalist Prince Maximilian of Wied Neuwied and the great Swiss artist Karl Bodmer. Moulton explains in a note that it is not printed because the Nicholas King map, which is printed, largely duplicates it.
The reason doesn't hold up when one considers the overlap of other maps as well as Moulton's admission that King made significant modifications from Arrowsmith's map. Its absence from the atlas is unfortunate. Nevertheless, thirty-four of the maps in the atlas show about previously undetailed miles of the trip, and all reinforce the achievement of Clark as a geographer who sketched the course of the journey with impressive care.
He records the longitude and latitude, though not always accurately, of all important geographic features as well as compass readings of each twist and turn in the streams and rivers he explored Figure 2. As he sailed up the Missouri, Clark estimated distances by eyesight, recording, for instance, that the expedition had traveled between the mouth of the Missouri and the Platte River a distance of miles.
A surveying team several years later concluded from their instruments that the distance was actually miles. What does all of this material add up to in relation to those teachers and students of literature I referred to at the beginning of this survey? The maps suggest an answer. The maps of the atlas also reflect a concern for measurement and demarcation informing much of the language of the journals.
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On 21 July Clark observes the Platte River with typical detail:. This river does not rise over 6 or 7 feet. After killing a rodent that the explorers eventually name the prairie dog, Clark notes: Great Rapids of the Columbia River, sketchmap by Clark. On 5 May , Lewis similarly considers the corpse of a terrifying grizzly:.
We had no means of weighing this monster; Capt Clark thought he would weigh lbs. The explorers are here engaged in their work as scientific collectors of objective data about the natural world. These details, when added to astronomical symbols and tabulations of longitude and latitude, produce those texts that the Columbia Literary History of the United States finds so cluttered with tedious detail.
But the cumulative effect of this detail is monumental. Clark's hunters shoot 1, deer. In one day Lewis with ten men catch fish. Gifts for Indians include 2, fishhooks, 4, assorted needles, and twisted rolls of tobacco. On the Missouri a floating mass of white feathers 70 yards wide and 3 miles long lead to an island covered with thousands of pelicans. The petrified backbone of an ancient fish is 45 feet long. The carcass of a beached whale measures feet. July hail 7 inches in circumference hits the ground and bounces 12 feet into the air. Under the unbearably difficult circumstances of their composition, the writing of such detailed accounts was the most heroic of acts.
Bristling with factual matter characteristic of scientific enterprises in the New World, the texts also reflect early American literary fascination with registering the density of the physical world and ways of encountering it. The extensive language of measurement and demarcation elevates the journals into an epic of the quotidian. The language of eighteenth-century science with its penchant for objective observation and quantification vies with that of art in its figurative modes of classifying the natural world.
Both forms of expression, however, are ordered by the prevailing aesthetic expectations of the day. In the s such aesthetic assumptions intertwined with political ideology to shape Jefferson's argument with the French naturalist, the comte Georges-Louis Leclerc de Buffon, about the character of the natural world in the Americas. Jefferson's view that the bones of what he called the Megalonyx in Virginia provided triumphant evidence against the purported degeneracy of American animals, along with his belief that the economy of nature disallows the annihilation of any species, led him to order Lewis and Clark to look out for signs of animals deemed rare or extinct, like the mammoth.
As evidence against moral degeneracy, numerous accounts of kindness and honor include the story of a man who walked all day to catch up with the expedition to return a hatchet left behind in camp. No ideologues of Noble Savagery, Lewis and Clark also report what they perceive as brutality, thievery, and squalor. Their mixed accounts of unsavory and noble behavior create a complex ethnographic record of culturally diverse native peoples in their historical situation.
I really did not untill now think that human nature ever presented itself in a shape so nearly allyed to the brute creation. Those Indians the explorers find least aesthetically pleasing and most corrupt are tribes on the northwestern coast who have had extensive commerce with whites. In pursuing Jefferson's directions to gather linguistic information, Lewis and Clark engage in the search for the possible origin of Native Americans and their interconnections within the human family. The explorers collect extensive vocabulary lists, make comparative observations, and note inflectional distinctions in Indian speech.
Reluctant to harden their data into a premature theory, the captains do not write down what Joseph Whitehouse reports in his journal: Lewis took down the names of everry thing in their Language, in order that it may be found out whether they are or whether they Sprang or origenated first from the welch or not. Apparent in Jefferson's views of native peoples and the natural world are the aesthetic underpinnings of value and meaning provided by the Linnaean concept of oeconomia naturae —the governing plan that sustains the processes of nature and the existence of individual species so that all natural things are interconnected, chained together, in a common, ordered function.
The antecedents of such an aesthetic view extend at least as far back as Plato, but Linnaeus approached the question of nature's balance, or nature's economy, as a scientific problem, albeit one with a mythological basis as old as Plato's Protagoras and a theological basis in its manifestations of the creator's benevolent disposition. What Linnaeus found in nature was an economy that worked for the good of the whole and the preservation of individual species. What Lewis and Clark found in the wilderness did not consistently support such an amiable view.
A shadow world of disorder, underlying every aesthetic scheme, thus provides dynamic tension to the language of the journals. Long navigable rivers flowing eastward suggested their counterparts in the West. One supposedly could anticipate the western course of the Missouri from the eastern course of the Ohio. The same apparent symmetry affected the order of mountains. Lewis and Clark's subjective responses to the western wilderness also drew from artistic tropes ruled by Enlightenment assumptions of harmony and order.
Expectations of encountering fertile, well-watered lands across the country trigger frequent, hopeful notations on areas suitable for agrarian settlement. Even late in the journey when the country does not quite measure up to its promise, Clark can speculate that it would be fine when cultivated.
The explorers do seem at times like new men in a new Eden, walking peacefully among hundreds of animals that will not scare: Horror shatters this Edenic world in the form of enraged grizzlies, rampaging buffalo, violent storms, flash floods, smashed boats, horses rolling down hillsides, feet torn and bleeding from cactus needles, incessant rain, fleas, and mosquitoes. Rather than the easy two-day portage the explorers anticipated, the trek spanned some 45 days of hardship from the headwaters of the Missouri to those of the Columbia.
The wilderness becomes animate in a way that is as primal as it is gothic. The journals often become an epic story of confrontations with dark monsters and inexplicable powers. But the real snake in the garden hideously follows the explorers themselves. In the wanton smashing of a wolf'sskull with as pontoon, the slaugh tering of animals, and the proprietary attitudes toward the land, the explorers reveal sad glimpses of the dark side of American imperialism. Their first council with Native American likewise becomes both a threat and an omen.
When the conventions of the age fail to encompass the western wilderness, Lewis opts for the conventional trope of noting such failures. The reflected photographic image could then be traced onto a sheet of paper, rendering the scene into the ordered perspective of picturesque art. It is now a commonplace of Lewis and Clark criticism to characterize the stylistic extremes of the two explorers as reflections of their sensibilities. Laconic, measured, and scientifically objective accounts of the environment are identified with Clark. Effusive, romantic, and subjective literary responses are identified with Lewis.
The styles supposedly mirror the personalities of the two men as polar opposites: Lewis as a brooding introvert given to melancholy speculation, Clark an even-tempered, sociable extrovert inclined toward good-natured self-effacement. Charles Willson Peale's famous portraits, now hanging in the Independence National Historical Park in Philadelphia, seem to emphasize these contrasting images.
Clark, a husky man with a high forehead and shock of red hair, looks boldly from the canvas directly at the viewer, while Meriwether Lewis, tall and slender with sensitive bow lips and an aquiline nose, gazes dreamily toward the side of the canvas. The contrasting careers of the two men after their renowned expedition have also reinforced the image of Clark as a gregarious public official and Lewis as a moody loner. Clark pursued a long and distinguished career as superintendent of Indian affairs at St.
Louis, while Lewis experienced a brief and troubled governorship of the Louisiana Territory—ridden with alcoholism and abruptly terminated by a murky death. The stylistic differences of the two men cannot be ignored, nor can their differences of temperament—Lewis is more subjective, circumlocutory, and polished, Clark more terse, objective, and direct—but the journals do not bear out the rigid categorizations of either style or personality imposed from the hindsight of their subsequent careers.
Lewis employs the descriptive discourse of science as scrupulously as Clark, even more so in many cases, particularly in regard to flora and fauna, where his command of technical terminology is greater. The distinction between verbose Lewis and laconic Clark also needs qualification, for Clark contributed to the journals many more of the , total words than did Lewis. Unless some journals were lost, Lewis made entries for only of the days, while Clark provided entries for all but 10 days, which he later summarized. O how Tremedious is the day.
This dredfull wind and rain. In contrast, Lewis is able to keep his spirits elevated as he faces the new year: The expeditionary record shows that Lewis and Clark form an alliance that transcends their differences of personality and style. They seem to command, effortlessly and without conflict, as one; over the course of the journey, both demonstrate cunning, intelligence, and dignity in their leadership of others.
In chronicling their trials and achievements, the heroes of this epic adventure sing of themselves, becoming—in a modern literary twist—their own bards. Where modesty commends one to silence about his own achievement, history compels the other to document the worthiness of the event, producing an absence of boastfulness that Theodore Roosevelt found so impressive. The effectiveness of this strange alliance, a sharing of command that defies military hierarchy, is unique to military history.
While Lewis enjoys eating dog meat and Clark hates it, Lewis craves salt and Clark dismisses it as a luxury, and Lewis likes eating black currants and Clark favors yellow ones, the two leaders otherwise form a perfectly harmonious relationship. A moving aspect of the journals is how much they care for each other. They remain friends to the end. It is the composite character of these leaders—their pervasive outpouring of intellectual and moral energy—that sustains the expedition and guarantees its success. This composite character manifests itself in the thousands of right decisions the leaders jointly make to avert disaster.
Only when Lewis and Clark are apart on the return journey does tragedy strike, when two Blackfeet Indians are killed. Clark's declamations against the harsh winter weather also peak when the men are separated. While they are still apart, Lewis is almost killed when accidentally shot by one of his own hunters. It is as if the division of the classical hero into two men allows Lewis and Clark to embody heroic impulses in believable ways. They become heroes cut down to credible size, eighteenth-century men who merge into a composite character acceptable to the skepticism of the modern age.
Of all the heroic moments recorded in the journals, however, none surpasses the writing of the journals themselves. When the explorers copy from each other's field notes or journals, original authorship sometimes becomes blurred or lost. The journals appropriately end with William Clark's last brief entry on 25 September The vacillating style of this composite authorship is less the product of differing sensibilities than of the era's competing languages of art and science. That two men happened to write the journals conveniently symbolizes the split in discourse that had characterized American nature writing since the eighteenth century.
In the edition of his Notes on the State of Virginia, Jefferson typically jumps from the language of science to that of art when his quantitative description of Virginia's topographic features breaks into paeans to the sublimity of the Natural Bridge or the Potomac River. Even more extreme are the wild swings in style in William Bartram's Travels. Bartram's sudden flipflops between neoclassic poetic tropes and scientific Latinate descriptions now cause student wonderment that such a schizophrenic text was actually written by one person.
A similar tension continued into the nineteenth century, evident in the split between Thoreau's transcendental flights and those journalistic observations once dismissed as dry, meaningless factual details about grasses, snowfalls, tree rings, lichens, and seeds. After the Civil War, the prose of trained geologists like John Wesley Powell, Clarence King, and Clarence Dutton vacillates between technical description and metaphors drawn from mythology and architecture to shape a visionary, aesthetic response to an apparently inanimate landscape.
Static buttes, mesas, and canyon lands become animate dramas of shifting forms under the violently changing pressures of wind, water, fire, and light. Part of the reason for the vacillating style of American nature writing lies in the increasing professionalization of scientific pursuits and scientific language in the eighteenth century. Specialization of scientific tasks was making way for the nineteenth-century invention of the word scientist, and the specialized language of naturalists like Bartram pointed toward James Fenimore Cooper's caricature of Dr.
Battius in The Prairie , floundering through the wilderness, a danger to himself and others, oblivious to everything except new species, while gibbering in the Latin derivatives of the Linnaean system. Why Lewis and Clark avoided the Linnaean system of taxonomy and nomenclature has puzzled many commentators. Recent studies have shown Lewis to be better trained and more scientifically competent than is often assumed.
His careful descriptions of plants include no fewer than two hundred technical botanical terms. Because they provided the first detailed, formal descriptions of new flora and fauna, the explorers are now credited with the discovery of plants and birds, animals, fish, and reptiles, including the cutthroat trout, mountain quail, pack rat, western hognose snake, western meadowlark, kit fox, Lewis's woodpecker, and Clark's nutcracker see Figure 3.
Manuscript page by Lewis, 24 February, with his sketch of a eulachon, or candle fish, Thaleicthys pacificus. As a result, their prose does not reach the extreme vacillations of diction marking other works of natural history such as Bartram's. Jefferson's views dramatize what Linnaeus himself had come to realize: The system is artificial, Linnaeus grudgingly acknowledged, although he maintained that it was a step toward the discovery of the natural system he felt sure existed.
But while rejecting the falsity of rhetoric, in Hobbesian and Lockean terms, as powerful instruments of error and deceit, Linnaeus found himself replacing one rhetorical trope for another. In his last edition of Systema naturae, however, Linnaeus no longer insisted on the immutability of species, the concept that had sustained the aesthetic order and metaphor of nature's economy. The Linnaean system, prior to the moment of its widest acceptance, was already crumbling.
By the time Lewis and Clark trekked into the West, rejection of Linnaeus's system and method was widespread. The breakdown was anticipated in Bartram's Travels, where an Ovidian world of metamorphosis shattered the Linnaean economy of nature. Newly proposed systems had begun to dominate the sciences. Antoine Laurent de Jussieu's new botanical system was superseding that of Linnaeus. In zoology, Baron Georges Cuvier completely revised Linnaeus's classifications of animals, and Jean-Baptiste de Monet de Lamarck subverted the economy of nature with a theory of organic evolution.
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Cite this Email this Add to favourites Print this page. Catalogue Persistent Identifier https: You must be logged in to Tag Records. Gray, though, bulled across and found himself in the mouth of a huge river that he named Columbia, after his ship. He spent upwards of a profitable week trading with the river's Chinook Indians and then sailed north to the west coast of Vancouver Island. There he encountered one of Britain's great navigators, George Vancouver, for whom the island would be named, and told him about the river. Vancouver was one of those who had seen the breakers but had sailed by.
Now he decided that as an official explorer of Great Britain, he had better take a more careful look. The rough waves and shallow water of the bar beat his flagship back, but a small tender commanded by Lieutenant W. This was October , and the water was low. Gray had been in the estuary during the high water of spring five months earlier, and his descriptions did not tally with what Broughton saw.
Convincing himself that the Yankee had never left the saltwater estuary and hence could not be credited with discovering whatever river entered the huge sound actually Gray had sailed thirty-six miles upstream , Broughton decided to take a hand in the expansion of the British Empire. He ordered some of his men to lower a longboat and row him a hundred miles east and south to the approximate vicinity of today's Portland, Oregon, well within sight of the magnificent snow cones of Mount Saint Helens and Mount Hood, which he named.
In the bright moonlight of October 30, , he landed and claimed possession of the entire watershed for his king and country. Jefferson and Lewis learned all this when the six liberally illustrated volumes of Vancouver's Voyage of Discovery to the North Pacific Ocean were published in , the same year Mackenzie 's book appeared. They had heard of Gray's discovery, of course, but details were maddeningly vague, for neither the trader nor his mate, John Boit, had yet published a word or drawn a map. Vancouver's work removed the uncertainties and convinced the president and his secretary that a great River of the West did exist, its mouth scientifically located by a trained navigator.
Meriwether Lewis was excited enough that he copied, from Vancouver's book, charts depicting the course Broughton had covered in reaching a landmark he had named Point Vancouver. An unspoken but unsettling corollary followed. Spain definitely owned California and might insist that its province extended far enough north to embrace the stream. Mackenzie , it was generally thought, had established a British claim to the upper river and Broughton to its lower reaches. Though Gray had preceded both Britons by a small margin, the effectiveness of his short stays was disputable.
A visit by a party traveling overland might help strengthen the American claim to the Northwest, even though occupation rather than mere declarations of possession were considered paramount in disputes over sovereignty. Another fragment of reality was added to the continent's geography by definite proof, published in and , that the Missouri River extended much farther north than had been supposed. The key was the earthen, riverside villages occupied by the Mandan and Hidatsa Indians. After their withdrawal, darkness closed in until a small, loosely organized trade based on Canada's Assiniboine River was introduced during the late s.
By chance, Spanish traders out of St. Louis reached the villages shortly thereafter more of that later and conflict developed. In order to determine whether the villages lay in Spanish or English territory, the North West Company of Canada sent its chief astronomer, David Thompson , south to make the necessary observations. He started out in December with nine men, "fine, hearty, good humoured. Hoping to do some independent trading, the nine took along four or five heavily laden sleds pulled by thirty wolfish dogs. Thompson rode a horse. For Thompson there were compensations.
He had his instruments with him and used the delays to determine "the latitude of six different places and the longitude of three, on the Road to the River. During his short stay with the Mandan es, as he spelled the name, he grew disgusted with their sexual practices not so his men; they had agreed to make the trip partly so they could enjoy the rewards of the flesh , but he swallowed his scruples, made anthropological notes about everything he saw, and questioned his hosts in detail about the course of the Missouri above and below the villages.
In the process he determined to his own satisfaction that the villages lay in Spanish territory. Whether or not his English superiors would thereafter keep their men out of the area was not his to determine. In February , he returned with his party to their starting point. Copies of the charts Thompson drew were sent by his company to London. Alexander Mackenzie saw them and used them to indicate, on the map he issued with his Voyages in , the short stretch of the Missouri with which Canadian traders were in contact.
Another recipient of a copy was Arrasmith , a conscientious and able British cartographer who had made a huge map of North America in and who published thoroughly revised versions in and Almost certainly Meriwether Lewis traced the chart while waiting for Congress to pass the appropriation bill that would launch the Western reconnaissance.
Those maps, obtained almost simultaneously, gave Lewis the approximate longitude and latitude of three key points along his hypothetical route: Louis, the Mandan villages, and the mouth of the Columbia. Because Arrowsmith had known the direction of the Missouri's flow as it left the Indian towns and also as it drove across the present-day state of Missouri into the Mississippi, he had felt free to draw the rest of its lower course with confident, if generalized, strokes. West of the villages, however, Lewis was faced with tantalizing choices that derived, in large part, from an Indian called The Feathers.
The Feathers was a Piegan of the Blackfoot Confederacy. Somewhere in the wastelands he had run into Peter Fidler, a surveyor for the Hudson's Bay Company, who himself was supposed to have ranged south along the Rockies as far as the forty-fifth parallel of latitude, the present boundary between Wyoming and Montana. Using primitive media of some sort—a twig in the earth, a charred stick on a buffalo hide—The Feathers drew for Fidler a chart of the headwaters of the Missouri.
It was a crude representation of many channels flowing east, like the veins of a leaf, into one main stem. The company allowed Arrowsmith to see them. He refined them to fit his conception of how a river should take shape and transferred the result to the revised map that Meriwether Lewis studied with almost agonizing care. A little above the Mandan towns, according to Arrowsmith's conjectures which he labeled as such by using dotted instead of solid lines , the river forked into two tributaries fed by several smaller streams, as The Feathers had suggested.
The tributaries gradually spread apart like the legs of a large, reclining isosceles triangle. A ridge, already known as the Rocky or Stony Mountains, formed the base of the triangle. High points along this mountain base were named: The ridge as a whole was represented as rising, on the average, 3, feet above the plain. The altitude was comparable to that of the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, and Lewis probably visualized them as such—heavily forested and creased by many steep-sided rills. It is unlikely that he imagined even the King or the Bear's Tooth as barren peaks, like those described to Charlevoix by the Indian woman at Kaskaskia.
Yet did he never wonder why the Western uplift was called the Rocky Mountains? The Missouri's northern tributary, to which Arrowsmith gave no name, headed at the peak called the King. This brought it close to one of the branches of the South Saskatchewan; this meant it might be used to further Jefferson 's plan of siphoning furs out of Canada. On the western side of the King and drawn with a solid line was a fragmentary rendition of a stream called Great Lake River. A dotted line suggested that the Great Lake River continued southwest to join the southern reaches, also portrayed with dots, of Alexander Mackenzie 's Tacoutche Tesse.
After continuing south for some distance, the combined rivers bent east to join the Oregan sic , whose lower course had been charted for Vancouver by Lieutenant Broughton and hence had been given a solid line by Arrowsmith. An exciting legend appeared beside the presumed lower reaches of the Great Lake River: Here, indeed, was a way to the Pacific! Arrowsmith believed the southern fork to be the main one and had labeled it "River Mississury. There was another point. Though the River Mississury ran due west from the Mandan villages to the Bear's Tooth, it received several large southern branches that flowed out of a section bearing the note, "Hereabouts the Mountains divide into several low ridges.
This would enable the explorers to stay in American territory, whereas following the north fork might cause them to trespass on British soil. And if reaching the Oregan by the southern branch proved impossible, they might try the Colorado River instead—it was shown as rising no great distance to the south—and float down it to the Gulf of California and the Pacific, an option Jefferson himself had suggested.
Secretary of the Treasury Albert Gallatin added to the uncertainties. If Lewis carried with him all the available maps of the trans-Mississippi region, the packet would be unwieldy. Why not have Nicholas King, official surveyor of the city of Washington, combine all relevant data into a single master chart? King agreed, but in transferring Arrowsmith's data to his own map, he made several revisions.
Some arose from different interpretations of the David Thompson material, and some, it would appear, from King's and Lewis's? He thought the north tributary, left unnamed by Arrowsmith, was the main one, for he labeled it "Missesourie" it, too, was portrayed with dotted lines and he shifted the Great Lake River far enough south so that a portage between the two streams would not encroach on British territory. He renamed the dotted southern tributary, which Arrowsmith called the main stem, as the "Lesser Missesourie.
Most intriguing of all, he showed a conjectural great southern fork of the Oregan even he, an American, disdained Gray's name Columbia sweeping around the southern foothills of the Bear's Tooth, to rise well east of the Lesser Missesourie's headwaters. That is, the Lesser Missesourie and the south fork of the Oregan if it existed now interlocked.
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And it was probably thoughts of the Oregan's southern tributary and of possible approaches to the Colorado River that led Jefferson to urge, in his instructions, that Lewis keep a sharp eye on the Missouri's southern confluences. Meriwether Lewis had at his fingertips two speculative maps prepared by two of the world's best cartographers from the latest information available. He could not ignore them. Yet which route, if any, could he depend on to take him and his party safely and successfully to their destination?
Had not the great Alexander Mackenzie made an almost fatal choice that had spun him off to the sterile ice of the Arctic in ? Lewis could afford nothing like that. These plans for transcontinental exploration were more daring in than they seem now. France still owned Louisiana and might continue to do so; America's envoys, Livingston and Monroe, had been instructed to dicker only for New Orleans and West Florida. Yet Jefferson wanted to push an American commercial highway across that foreign territory into another area—the Oregon country—to which title was by no means clear.
More complications arose from Alexander Mackenzie 's recently published Voyages. The Scot was less interested in obtaining book royalties than in bending the British government to his will.
He concluded his tale by urging Parliament to charter a huge monopoly that could control the entire fur trade of Canada. The proposed firm would introduce goods into the heart of the continent by way of Hudson Bay in the East and the Columbia, over which Britain must spread its sovereignty, in the West. The new company would have the right to dispose of its Western fur harvest in the profitable markets of the Orient without interference from the South Sea or East Indian monopolies.
Faced with so much power, America's exploitive ship captains, currently the dominant force in the sea-otter trade of the Northwest Coast, "would instantly disappear," or so Mackenzie argued. Even the beaver trade of the upper Missouri would be lost, for Mackenzie also proposed moving Canada's boundary with Louisiana Territory south from the forty-ninth parallel to the forty-fifth. If all this came to pass what point would there be in the American president and his secretary nosing along speculative river courses and over dreamed-of portages, searching for the Pacific?
There is no way to explain the president's audacity except to believe he was deliberately playing the odds. If the French did occupy Louisiana, there was a possibility they would send the same kind of expedition to the Pacific he was contemplating—and he certainly wanted to beat them to that, for the sake of American glory if nothing else. His armies were stalled in Santo Domingo, and he faced, in Europe, a renewal of his desperate wars against England, as Jefferson correctly sensed.
The new conflict broke out in May So the president was willing to move ahead on the assumption France would not—could not—interfere. No formal transfer of territory had taken place. Hoping perhaps that none would because of Napoleon's other involvements, the Spanish government might prove as intransigent as Yrujo had predicted when Jefferson had approached him earlier.
In that event, Madrid's longstanding policy of using Louisiana as a buffer to protect Mexico might lead the officials in New Spain to disregard France's ownership and resist Lewis's "invasion" with force. But New Spain was, in the main, lethargic, and Jefferson was willing to take that chance, too. Then there were the Britons, whom Mackenzie was trying to stir into more empire building in the Northwest. The British were not averse to such thinking, but in order to turn Mackenzie 's blueprint into actuality, Parliament would have to tread on the toes of three powerful monopolies, the Hudson's Bay, South Seas, and East India companies.
That the government would do this for a private entrepreneur's hustling company seemed unlikely to Jefferson. Furthermore, Mackenzie 's own partners in the North West Company were reluctant, as the president may have known, to support the Scot's expensive dream, even though some of their traders were already groping for a new way across the Rockies from the headwaters of the Saskatchewan. He concealed his audacity by lying about his purposes. Immediately after Congress had passed and he had signed, on February 28, , the act appropriating money for extending the commerce of the United States, he asked the British and French ministers to grant passports to Lewis's party.
Lewis was furthering science, not commerce or territorial acquisition, and would carry with him only such merchandise as he needed to mollify suspicious Indians. The act spoke of commerce, the president said, only because the American Constitution forbade the government's financing enterprises devoted to advancing science or promoting geographical discoveries. Such statements were a calculated deception. Though Jefferson did earnestly wish to promote science and geographical knowledge, he also hoped to draw as many furs out of the British area of influence as possible.
Developing good will among the Indians while learning trade routes and navigable river systems was essential to the realization of that mercantile goal. Jefferson evaded the question, saying only, " Qu'il devait le donner ": He went on with a great show of candor, tracing out Lewis's proposed route on Arrowsmith's map and then lending Pichon the British passport so he could use it as a model in preparing his own.
A final and very strange bit of camouflage was his telling, and ordering Lewis to tell, anyone who noted preparations for the expedition and wondered about its goal that it was bound up the Mississippi. So why this last cover? No one can be sure. Possibly the president hoped to keep Federalist newspaper editors from raising a commotion about the true nature of the exploration.
Perhaps he worried lest Western frontiersmen, feeling they could go wherever an official government party went, might create an incident by trying to follow Lewis into Louisiana. Or perhaps he believed, with his usual predilection for secrecy, that any questionable enterprise needed concealment as a matter of course and acted accordingly.
Whatever the reason, seldom has an expedition of such momentous potentials been prepared for with so little fanfare. After weeks of paperwork, Meriwether Lewis at last felt the touch of the future when, in mid-March, , he reached the U. There, on the rifle range, above the placid junction of the Shenandoah and Potomac rivers, he was handed one of the brand-new Model , short-barreled,. He tamped in powder, dropped in a ball.
Commendable accuracy in spite of the short barrel. He must have nodded satisfaction, for the livelihood of his party might depend in large part on the rifles the men carried. He ordered fifteen guns for fifteen men, together with powder horns, pouches, bullet molds, wipers, and, of utmost importance, spare parts and the special tools needed for repairs. To this requisition he added two dozen large knives and three dozen pipe tomahawks, some for his own party, some as gifts for important Indians.
The tomahawks could be used for a peaceful smoke as well as for splitting heads. Handles were hollow and a tobacco bowl was molded solidly onto the heel of the hatchet blade. What turned into a real monster was the iron boat frame he had designed earlier in Washington. The problem revolved around the detachable sections forming bow and stern. Each had to curve inward to a point while also creating the "sheer line," a curve that runs from the end of a boat's keel up to the tip of the bow and, in the case of the iron nightmare, to the tip of the stern as well.
The keel of Lewis's boat was thirty-two feet long. The overall length was thirty-six feet. Therefore each sheer line had to rise two feet two inches, the depth of the boat, within a horizontal distance of two feet even. He used a cord suspended in a curve between two points to show the arsenal boatwrights the line to strive for.
The blacksmiths heated bars of wrought iron until they glowed cherry red and then hammered out long, thin slats that would be supported at intervals by iron stanchions. Bolt holes had to fit exactly so the sections could be assembled and disassembled. Eyelets were also bored along the gunwales and other parts of the frame.
Whether or not the boat was also fitted for a mast, as wooden pirogues were, does not appear. The construction demanded more time and care than Lewis had anticipated. He hovered anxiously around the arsenal's foundry while the workmen built and fit together one curved end section and one semicylindrical midsection, the latter four feet ten inches of beam and twenty-six inches wide at the bottom. From this partial work he calculated that the completed frame would weigh, without a sheathing, a mere ninety-nine pounds, an easy carriage. Feeling cocky, he named the boat Experiment, ordered it finished, and moved on.
One wonders about the six weeks' delay. Jefferson , and hence Lewis, hoped the expedition would be several hundred miles up the Missouri before winter set in. With that as a goal, they had allotted one week for the work at Harpers Ferry. The president would be expecting regular reports, and Lewis knew it. He sent none, perhaps because he did not wish to create worries while success seemed elusive. He may have feared, too, that if Jefferson learned of the setbacks he would order the experiment abandoned.
Or conceivably, the troubles may have put him into such a fit of depression that for a time he could not rouse himself to do much of anything. Whatever the cause, the president was worried. On April 23, expecting Lewis would be in Philadelphia by then, he addressed a letter to him there, complaining of not having had word of him since March 7. His first move on arriving was to write Jefferson a long explanation of what he had been up to. Among other things, he stated, he had written many long, important memos to boat builders, recruiting officers, supply agents.
But none to the president. He had, moreover, triumphed over the difficulties of the iron boat. Yes, he was late, but there was no need to worry. His host, Andrew Ellicott , was one of the friends Jefferson had called on to prepare Lewis for what lay ahead. He was an able cartographer. When Virginia and Maryland had ceded the District of Columbia to the United States to be the new seat of government, Ellicott had surveyed and mapped the area. He had acted as assistant to the city's planner, Pierre Charles L'Enfant, and afterwards had taken several trips to the Mississippi, whose course from the mouth of the Missouri to the gulf he had surveyed more accurately than it had been done before.
Louis had learned its definitive place on the globe from his calculations. He did not believe in the kind of crash course Jefferson wanted him to give Lewis. The young man would need patience and practice, he told Jefferson —lots of practice, especially with the instruments used for determining latitude and longitude. This practice he proceeded to give him, working him hard for seventeen days, often after dark. Once again this was more time than Lewis had counted on when drawing up his schedule. And Philadelphia, where he would purchase the bulk of his supplies and receive more tutoring in different subjects, still lay ahead.
He reached the thriving city about May 9 and straightaway began spending the twenty-five hundred dollars Congress had appropriated for the trip. His indispensable helper was Israel Whelen, the government purchasing agent stationed in the city. Working together, they bought upwards of two hundred different items from twenty-eight vendors. More material came from the Schuylkill arsenal just outside the city. Packing it properly for equitable distribution among an unknown number of potential customers would turn out to be a major problem.
The whites would take along a few specialties of their own. Baillet boiled hunks of beef down to a thick liquid, clarified it with the whites of eggs, added chopped vegetables, and continued boiling until he had obtained a thick paste. He then sealed the stiff goo into lead canisters; after the contents were diluted and eaten, the containers could be melted down and molded into bullets.
Another of Lewis's inspirations was an air rifle specially made for him by Isaiah Lukens , manufacturer of machine tools, dies, medals, watches, and so on. Though the weapon, novel at the time but not to boys with BB guns today , looked like a long-barreled Kentucky rifle, it was activated by air pumped under pressure into a reservoir in the gun's butt. Firing produced no smoke and only a pop—useful characteristics if one wished to be secretive or to awe the Indians with what seemed another example of "white man's powerful medicine.
The captain's adviser in this field was Jefferson 's friend, Dr. A native of Pennsylvania, Rush had graduated from Princeton at the age of fifteen. After a hard five-year apprenticeship under a Philadelphia doctor, he crossed the Atlantic to the University of Edinburgh, where he won his M. Returning home, he became the first professor of chemistry in the United States.
He was one of the four doctors who signed the Declaration of Independence; he helped found the country's first antislavery league and was a leading member of the American Philosophical Society. He wrote prodigiously on all manner of subjects. A fluent and popular lecturer, he helped prepare an estimated three thousand doctors for the young United States. The harm they inflicted on the populace is incalculable. In those days no one had the foggiest notion of bacterial or viral infective agents.
An ailing body was cured by draining away the morbidities that had invaded it. Using a lancet a small, sharp-edged, folding knife , he slit a sufferer's vein and let the blood flow into a bowl,where he studied its "diseased" state. Very ill patients were bled until they fainted.
Bleeding was also resorted to in the case of dislocated and broken bones; it supposedly reduced muscular tension, thereby making manipulations easier. He practiced what he preached. During Philadelphia's yellow fever epidemic in , he ranged heroically through the city's hospitals, a knife-wielding technician at his heels. When he caught the disease, he bled himself. On other occasions he bled one of his daughters when she was six weeks old and had twice bled a son by the time the infant was two months old.
Both children survived—because of the remedies, Rush was sure. He treated syphilis by applying mercury compounds to lesions in the mouth. Mercury, we now know, is a poison. The resulting painful salivations, he believed, took away the ailment. Making a patient vomit was a cure for a wide variety of ills, and was often accompanied by bleeding.
He ended constipation with his famed bilious pills, compounded out of calomel which contains mercury and jalap. The concoctions were popularly, and appropriately, known as Rush's Thunderbolts. In following his recommendations, Lewis filled a specially made chest with 1, doses of physic, 1, doses of emetics designed to induce vomiting, 3, pills to cause sweating, and various drugs for increasing salivation and kidney output.
Instruments included lancets, a clyster syringe for enemas, and four pewter penis syringes for urethral irrigations for the relief of gonorrhea. To these cures Rush added written suggestions for maintaining health. Do not march when indisposed though the men had a continent to cross but rest in a horizontal position Rush's emphasis. Use spirits for washing tired feet; take internally no more than three tablespoonfuls of liquor to refresh a chilled or weary body. At mealtime try water laced with molasses and a few drops of sulphuric acid. During difficult and laborious enterprises, eat sparingly.
Wash your feet every morning with cold water. Rush also suggested, at Jefferson 's request, some of the things Lewis should concentrate on while studying Indians. What diseases did they have? At what age do women begin and cease to menstruate? Take a sampling of pulse rates of both children and adults morning, noon, and night. What about their bathing habits? Do they ever commit suicide for love? Do they sacrifice animals during their worship? How do they dispose of their dead?
Robert Patterson 's advice about surveying—he was professor of mathematics at the University of Philadelphia—was far more practical than Rush's about health. Only a hint of it has survived, however, in a problem in astronomy he sent Jefferson , saying it was a sample of the training he would give Lewis. Elementary, he described it, "easy even to boys or common sailors of but moderate capacity," whereupon he filled several sheets of paper with figures and formulas. He also recommended certain statistical tables the explorer should take with him to speed his calculations.
At Jefferson 's behest two more of the university's professors added their bits, Dr. Benjamin Smith Barton , a physician and naturalist, and Caspar Wistar, the professor of anatomy. Barton presumably helped Lewis with taxonomy and recommended texts, including his own famed Elements of Botany, which Lewis purchased for six dollars, a high price for a book in those days.
Wistar perhaps made suggestions about fossils, a field in which he was skilled, but since neither man's offerings were put into writing, this is mostly guesswork. Nor is it written anywhere that Lewis visited, for purposes of study, Charles Willson Peale 's natural history museum, the first of its kind in the United States and located, at that time, in Independence Hall, but it would be most uncharacteristic if he had overlooked the opportunity.
In spite of, perhaps because of, his busy days, Lewis enjoyed Philadelphia. He was associated with important men who clearly liked him, and he was in charge of an enterprise whose successful completion conceivably could bring him lasting fame. When night fell, he was able to turn to diversions he had grown accustomed to in Jefferson 's household—stimulating company, handsome women, good talk.
His guide to Philadelphia's social scene was Mahlon Dickerson, an entertaining young lawyer and future senator —33 whom he had first met at the White House. They dined together several times, paid calls on various young ladies, and were guests two or three times at the home of Thomas McKean, governor of Pennsylvania. Undoubtedly Lewis learned that largely through Yrujo's efforts the right of shippers to deposit their cargoes at New Orleans, a right whose revocation had helped precipitate the expedition, had been restored.
It is less certain whether Yrujo learned from Lewis that the expedition into Upper Louisiana, for which he had refused to grant passports, was going ahead anyway. In time to come the ambassador would object so constantly to Jefferson about his actions concerning Louisiana that the exasperated president would demand his recall. Another satisfaction came from the solution of a nagging problem about transportation.
His initial plan had been to launch the expedition from South West Point, Tennessee, close to the Cumberland River, a major tributary of the Ohio. But Congressman William Dickson of Tennessee, whom he had counted on to arrange for a keelboat and pirogue, had not answered his letters, and Major William McRae, who had been delegated to enlist, on approval, personnel for the expedition, wrote that a sufficient number of qualified men could not be found among the riffraff at the Point.
Meanwhile supplies were piling up in Philadelphia—twenty-seven hundred pounds, with another eight hundred or so waiting to be picked up at Harpers Ferry for transport across the mountains. The agent responsible, under government contract, for moving all public freight from the Atlantic to the trans-Appalachian area was one William Linnard.
He knew roads, boatyards, and military installations. During discussions about the supplies, Lewis and he decided to switch the expedition's departure point from Tennessee to Pittsburgh, where the Allegheny and Monongahela rivers join to form the Ohio. Lewis ordered a five-horse outfit for the hauling, and dashed off a letter to the boatyard Linnard recommended, specifying the kind of craft he wanted and asking, overoptimistically, that it be ready for departure by July By this time he was eager to be on the move.
Except for a few more astronomical lessons from Robert Patterson , he had completed what he had been ordered to do, and instructions from Jefferson about the aims of the expedition as a whole were already at hand. Ostensibly a guide for Lewis as he marched west, this remarkable document was also the president's statement to history about the purpose of the quasi-secret, quasi-illegal mission he was about to send on its way. Into it he poured all that had piqued his encyclopedic curiosity during decades of interest in the American West. He did not let the orders rest on his musings alone. Having finished a rough draft, he sent copies to his cabinet members for suggestions.
Only Albert Gallatin and Levi Lincoln, the attorney general, had responded at length. Gallatin , remembering military reconnaisance as the original motive behind the expedition, did not want that element dropped, even though the right of deposit had been restored. The antagonistic nations of Europe still might carry their warfare into the Mississippi Valley.
For the day might come when the United States would have to seize the area from its French owners and Spanish caretakers to "prevent G. The Missouri country was bound to be settled eventually "by the people of the U. Here indeed was the voice of manifest destiny, unnamed yet but ringing clear. Levi Lincoln was more concerned with practical politics. Jefferson 's opponents, the Federalists, remained "perverse, hostile, and mali[g]nant.
He should be advised, for instance, to determine how the Indians' religious and ethical standards could be improved—that is, made more like those of white Protestants. Who could fail to approve of that? Then he added a cautionary note. Meriwether Lewis was inclined to be rash and stubborn.
He should be warned that if crises arose along the way, he should retreat rather than charge headlong. After incorporating both men's ideas into a new draft, Jefferson sent it to Philadelphia for further comments by Lewis's tutors and by Lewis himself. The only suggestion from any Philadelphian, and that one by implication only, was for the addition of Dr. Rush's queries to the other Indian material. The primary object of the mission, the president wrote his instructions are printed in full in appendix I was to explore the Missouri and any adjoining Pacific stream that offered "direct and practicable communication across the continent for the purpose of commerce.
To prevent loss of valuable material, copies of the celestial observations were to be entrusted to several trustworthy men; ". Since another aim of the expedition was to lay the groundwork for a profitable commerce with the Western Indians, Lewis should take pains to learn as much as he could about them—tribal names, vocabularies, populations, tribal boundaries, relations with other groups of Indians, occupations, diseases, life styles, and morals.
Confer with them on the points most convenient as mutual emporiums"—by which the president meant government-operated trading factories.