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Entries For May 5:
Captain Lewis (current)
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Chapter 22: All Requesting Something!
Collected our horses and set out at 7 A.M. At 4 and a half miles we arrived at the entrance of the Kooskooskee, up the N. Eastern side of which we continued our march 12 miles to a large lodge of 10 families, having passed two other large mat lodges.
At the second lodge, we passed an Indian man who gave Captain Clark a very elegant gray mare, for which he requested a phial of eye-water, which was accordingly given him. While we were encamped last fall at the entrance of the Chopunnish river, Captain Clark gave an Indian man some volatile liniment to rub his knee and thigh for a pain of which he complained. The fellow soon after recovered, and has never ceased to extol the virtues of our medicines, and the skill of my friend Captain Clark as a physician. This occurrence, added to the benefit which many of them experienced from the eye-water we gave them about the same time, has given them an exalted opinion of our medicine.
My friend Captain Clark is their favorite physician and has already received many applications. In our present situation, I think it pardonable to continue this deception, for they will not give us any provision without compensation in merchandise, and our stock is now reduced to a mere handful. We take care to give them no article which can possibly injure them.
While at dinner, an Indian fellow very impertinently threw a poor, half-starved puppy nearly into my plate by way of derision for our eating dogs, and laughed very heartily at his own impertinence. I was so provoked at his insolence that I caught the puppy and threw it with great violence at him and struck him in the breast and face, seized my tomahawk, and showed him by signs, if he repeated his insolence I would tomahawk him.
We had several applications to assist their sick, which we refused unless they would let us have some dogs or horses to eat. A chief, whose wife had an abscess formed on the small of her back, promised a horse in the morning, provided we would administer to her. Accordingly, Captain Clark opened the abscess, introduced a tent [a roll of lint], and dressed it with basilicon [an ointment of wax, pitch, resin, and olive oil]. Captain Clark soon had more than fifty applications. I prepared some doses of flower of sulphur and cream of tartar, which were given with directions to be taken on each morning.
A little girl and sundry other patients were offered for cure, but we postponed our operations until morning. They produced us several dogs, but they were so poor that they were unfit for use.
This is the residence of one of the four principal chiefs of the nation, whom they call Neeshneparkkeook, or The Cut Nose, from the circumstance of his nose being cut by the Snake [Shoshone] Indians with a lance, in battle. To this man we gave a medal of the small size, with the likeness of the President. He may be a great chief, but his countenance has but little intelligence, and his influence among his people seems but inconsiderable. A number of Indians besides the inhabitants of these lodges gathered about us this evening and encamped in the timbered bottom on the creek near us.
We met with a Snake Indian man at this place, through whom we spoke at some length to the natives this evening with respect to the objects which had induced us to visit their country. This address was induced at this moment by the suggestions of an old man who observed to the natives that he thought we were bad men and had come, most probably, in order to kill them. This impression, if really entertained, I believe we effaced. They appeared well satisfied with what we said to them, and, being hungry and tired, we retired to rest at 11 o'clock.
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.