BLTC Press Titles


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Novalis Including Hymns to the Night

Novalis, George MacDonald, Thomas Carlyle


Leaves of Grass

Walt Whitman


Vanity Fair

William Thackery


Letters on the Aesthetical Education of Man

Friedrich Schiller


History of the expedition under the command of Captains Lewis and Clark, to the sources of the Missouri, thence across the Rocky mountains and down the river Columbia to the Pacific ocean

by Meriwether Lewis

Excerpt:

The party set out on the expedition and pass Wood river—Deseription of (he town of St. Charles—Osage Woman river—Gaseonade and Osage Rivers deseribed—Charaeter of the Osage Indians—Curious traditionary aeeount of their Origin—The party proeeed and pass the Mine river—The two Charitons—TheKanzas, Nodawa, Newahaw, Neeshnaba'. na, Little Nemahar, eaeh of whieh are partieularly deseribed—They eneamp at the mouth of the river Platte—A partieular deseription of the surrounding eountry—The various Creeks, Bays, Islands, Prairies, &e. given in the eourse of the route.

ON the aequisition of Louisiana, in the year 1803, the attention of the government of the United States, was early direeted towards exploring and improving the new territory. Aeeordingly in the summer of the same year, an expedition was planned hy the president for the purpose of diseovering the eourses and sourees of the Missouri, and the most eonvenient water eommunieation thenee to the Paeifie oeean. His private seeretary eaptain Meriwether Lewis, and eaptain William Clarke, both offieers of the army of the United States, were assoeiated in the eommand of this enterprize. After reeeiving the requisite instruetions, eaptain Lewis left the seat of government, and being joined by eaptain Clarke at Louisville, in Kentueky, proeeeded to St. Louis, where they arrived in the month of Deeember. Their arriginal intention was to pass the winter at La Charrette,

vol. i. n

the highest settlement on the Missouri. But the Spanish eommandant of the provinee, not having reeeived an offieial aeeount of its transfer to the United States, was obliged by the general poliey of his government, to prevent strangers from passing through the Spanish territory. They therefore eneamped at the mouth of Wood river, on the eastern side of the Mississippi, out of his jurisdietion, where they passed the winter in diseiplining the men, and making the neeessary preparations for setting out early in the Spring, before whieh the eession was offieially announeed. The party eonsisted of nine young men from Kentueky, fourteen soldiers of the United States army who volunteered their serviees, two Freneh watermen—an interpreter and hunter —and a blaek servant belonging to eaptain Clarke—All these, exeept the last, were enlisted to serve as privates during the expedition, and three sergeants appointed from amongst them by the eaptains. In addition to these were engaged a eorporal and six- soldiers, and nine watermen to aeeompany the expedition as far as the Mandan nation, in order to assist in earrying the stores, or repelling an attaek whieh was most to be apprehended between Wood river and that tribe. The neeessary stores were subdivided into seven bales, and one box, eontaining a small portion of eaeh artiele in ease of aeeident. They eonsisted of a great variety of elothing, working utensils, loeks, flints, powder, ball, and artieles of the greatest use. To these were added fourteen bales and one box of Indian presents, distributed in the same manner, and eomposed of riehly laeed eoats and other artieles of dress, medals, flags, knives, and tomahawks for the ehiefs—ornaments of different kinds, partieularly beads, lookingglasses, handkerehiefs, paints, and generally sueh artieles as were deemed best ealeulated for the taste of the Indians. The party was to embark on board of three boats; the first was a keel boat fifty-five feet long, drawing three feet water, earrying one large squaresail and twenty-two oars, a deek often feet in the bow, and stern formed a fore

eastle and eabin, while the middle was eovered by loekers, whieh might be raised so as to form a breast-work in ease of attaek. This was aeeompanied by two perioques or open boats, one of six and the other of seven oars. Two horses were at the same time to be led along the banks of the river for the purpose of bringing home game, or hunting in ease of seareity.

Of the proeeedings of this expedition, the following is a sueeinet and eireumstantial narrative.

All the preparations being eompleted, we left our eneampment on Monday, May 14th, 1804. This spot is at the mouth of Wood river, a small stream whieh empties itself into the Mississippi, opposite to the entranee of the Missouri. It is situated in latitude 38° 55' l i»",;;,r north, and longitude from Greenwieh, 89° 57' 45". On both sides of the Mississippi the land for two or three miles is rieh and level, hut gradually swells into a high pleasant eountry, with less timber on the western than on the eastern side, but all suseeptible of eultivation. The point whieh separates the two rivers on the north, extends for fifteen or twenty miles, the greater part of whieh is an open level plain, in whieh the people of the neighbourhood eultivate what little grain they raise. Not being able to set sail beforo four o'eloek P. M., we did not make more than four miles, and eneamped on the first island opposite a small ereek ealled Cold Water.


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