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Lewis and Clark
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image: July 18-24, 1806

image: July 25-27, 1806

Journal excerpts and maps from Original Journals of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, edited by Reuben Gold Thwaites


"All arrangements being now compleated for carrying into effect the several scheemes we had planed for execution on our return, we saddled our horses and set out. I took leave of my worthy friend and companion Capt. Clark and the party that accompanyed him. I could not avoid feeling much concern on this occasion although I hoped this seperation was only momentary. I proceeded down Clark’s river seven miles [11 kilometers] with my party of nine men and five Indians.... These people now informed me that the road which they shewed me at no great distance from our Camp would lead us up the East branch of Clark’s river and [to] a river they called Cokahlarishkit or the river of the road to buffaloe and thence to medicine river and the falls of the Missouri where we wished to go.... I directed the hunters to turn out early in the morning and indeavour to kill some more meat for these people whom I was unwilling to leave without giving them a good supply of provision after their having been so obliging as to conduct us through those tremendious mountains."


*Letter from Clark to Hugh Henney

"The ardent wish of our government has ever been to conciliate the esteem and secure the friendship of all the Savage nations within their territory by the exercise of every consistent and pacific measure in her power, applying those of coercion only in the last resort; certain we are that her disposition towards the native inhabitants of her newly acquired Territory of Louisiana is not less friendly; but we are also positive that she will not long suffer her citizens to be deprived of the free navigation of the Missouri by a fiew comparitively feeble bands of Savages who may be so illy advised as to refuse her proffered friendship and continue their depridation on her citizens who may in future assend or decend that river.

"We believe that the sureest guarantee of savage fidility to any nation is a thorough conviction on their minds that their government possesses the power of punishing promptly every act of aggression committed on their part against the person or property of their citizens; to produce this conviction without the use of violence, is the wish of our government; and to effect it, we cannot devise a more expedient method than that of takeing some of the best informed and most influential Chiefs with us to the U. States, where they will have an ample view of our population and resourses, become convinced themselves, and on their return convince their nations of the futility of an attempt to oppose the Will of our government, particularly when they shall find, that their acquiescence will be productive of greater advantages to their nation than their most sanguine hopes could lead them to expect from oppersition.

"We have before mentioned to you the intention of our government to form tradeing establishments on the Missouri with a view to secure the attatchments of the nativs and emeliorate their sufferings by furnishing them with such articles as are necessary for their comfort on the most moderate terms in exchange for their peltries and furs. forming those establishments will most probably be delayed untill our return for the want of sufficient information relitive to the state of the country....

"In your communication with the Sioux, in addition to other considerations which may suggest themselves to your mind, you will be pleased to assure them of the friendly views of our government towards them, their power and resources, their intention of establishing trading houses in their neighbourhood and the objects of those establishments. inform them that the mouth of all the rivers through [which] traders convey Merchindize to their country are now in the possession of the United States, who can at pleasure cut off all communication between themselves and their accustomed traders, and consequently the interest they have in cultivateing our friendship."


"I discovered to my left at the distance of a mile [1.6 kilometers] an assembleage of about 30 horses, I halted and used my spye glass by the help of which I discovered several indians on the top of an eminence.... this was a very unpleasant sight, however I resolved to make the best of our situation and to approach them in a friendly manner.... with the assistance of Drewyer [Fields] I had much conversation with these people in the course of the evening.... I told these people that I had come a great way from the East up the large river which runs toward the rising sun, that I had been to the great waters where the sun sets and had seen a great many nations all of whom I had invited to come and trade with me on the rivers on this side of the mountains, that I had found most of them at war with their neighbours and had succeeded in restoring peace among them, that I was now on my way home and had left my party at the falls of the missouri with orders to decend that river to the entrance of Maria’s river and there wait my arrival and that I had come in surch of them in order to prevail on them to be at peace with their neighbours... and to engage them to come and trade with me when the establishment is made at the entrance of this river.... I took the first watch tonight... I directed Fields to watch the movements of the indians and if any of them left the camp to awake us all as I apprehended they would attampt to s[t]eal our horses."

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