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Entries For March 18:
Captain Lewis (current)
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This morning we gave Delashelwilt a certificate of his good deportment, &c., and also a list of our names, after which we dispatched him to his village with his female band. These lists of our names we have given to several of the natives, and also pasted up a copy in our room. The object of these lists we stated in the preamble of the same, as follows:
The object of this list is that, through the medium of some civilized person who may see the same, it may be known to the informed world that the party consisting of the persons whose names are hereunto annexed, and who were sent out by the government of the U. States in-05-1804 to explore the interior of the continent of North America, did penetrate the same by way of the Missouri and Columbia rivers, to the discharge of the latter into the Pacific Ocean, where they arrived on the 14th of November, 1805, and from whence they departed the [blank in MS.] day of March, 1806, on their return to the United States by the same route they had come out.
On the back of some of these lists we added a sketch of the connection of the upper branches of the Missouri with those of the Columbia, particularly of its main S.E. branch, on which we also delineated the track we had come out and that we meant to pursue on our return where the same happened to vary. There seemed so many chances against our government ever obtaining a regular report through the medium of the savages and the traders of this coast, that we declined making any. Our party are also too small to think of leaving any of them to return to the U. States by sea, particularly as we shall be necessarily divided into three or four parties on our return in order to accomplish the objects we have in view, and at any rate, we shall reach the United States, in all human probability, much earlier than a man could who must in the event of his being left here depend for his passage to the United States on the traders of the coast who may not return immediately to the U. States, or if they should, might probably spend the next summer in trading with the natives before they would set out on their return.
Reprinted by permission of the American Studies Programs at the University of Virginia.
The complete text can also be downloaded for printing from their website.