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Entries For August 18:
Captain Lewis (current)
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This morning, while Captain Clark was busily engaged in preparing for his route, I exposed some articles to barter with the Indians for horses, as I wished a few at this moment to relieve the men who were going with Captain Clark from the labor of carrying their baggage, and also one to keep here in order to pack the meat to camp which the hunters might kill. I soon obtained three very good horses, for which I gave a uniform coat, a pair of leggings, a few handkerchiefs, three knives, and some other small articles, the whole of which did not cost more than about $20 in the United States. The Indians seemed quite as well pleased with their bargain as I was. The men also purchased one for an old checked shirt, a pair of old leggings, and a knife. Two of those I purchased, Captain Clark took on with him. At 10 A.M., Captain Clark departed with his detachment and all the Indians, except 2 men and 2 women, who remained with us.
This day I completed my thirty-first year, and conceived that I had, in all human probability, now existed about half the period which I am to remain in this sublunary world. I reflected that I had as yet done but little, very little, indeed, to further the happiness of the human race, or to advance the information of the succeeding generation. I viewed with regret the many hours I have spent in indolence, and now sorely feel the want of that information which those hours would have given me had they been judiciously expended. But, since they are past and cannot be recalled, I dash from me the gloomy thought, and resolve in future to redouble my exertions and at least endeavor to promote those two primary objects of human existence, by giving them the aid of that portion of talents which Nature and fortune have bestowed on me; or, in future, to live for mankind, as I have heretofore lived for myself.
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.