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The Two Rivers of Lewis & Clark
Entries For September 3:
Captain Clark (current)
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At half past 4 P.M. we spied two boats and several men. Our party plied their oars, and we soon landed on the side of the boats. The men of these boats saluted us with their small arms. I landed and was met by a Mr. James Aird from Mackinaw by way of Prairie du Chien and St. Louis. This gentleman is of the house of Dickson and Co., of Prairie du Chien, who has a license to trade for one year with the Sioux. He has two bateaux loaded with merchandise for that purpose. This gentleman received both Captain Lewis and myself with every mark of friendship. He was himself at the time with a chill of the ague on him which he has had for several days.
Our first inquiry was after the President of our country, and then our friends, and the state of politics of our country, &c., and the state of Indian affairs, to all of which inquiries Mr. Aird gave us as satisfactory information as he had it in his power to have collected in the Illinois, which was not a great deal. Soon after we landed, a violent storm of thunder, lightning, and rain from the N.W., which was violent, with hard claps of thunder and sharp lightning which continued until 10 P.M., after which the wind blew hard. I sat up late and partook of the tent of Mr. Aird, which was dry. Mr. Aird unfortunately had his boat sunk on the 25th of July last, by a violent storm of wind and hail, by which accident he lost the most of his useful articles, as he informed us.
This gentleman informed us of many changes and misfortunes which had taken place in the Illinois, amongst others the loss of Mr. Cady Chouteau's house and furniture by fire. For this misfortune of our friend Chouteau, I feel myself very much concerned, &c. He also informed us that General Wilkinson was the governor of the Louisiana and at St. Louis. Three hundred of the American troops had been cantoned on the Missouri a few miles above its mouth. Some disturbance with the Spaniards in the Natchitoches country is the cause of their being called down to that country.
The Spaniards had taken one of the U. States' frigates in the Mediterranean. Two British ships of the line had fired on an American ship in the port of New York and killed the captain's brother. Two Indians had been hanged in St. Louis for murder, and several others in jail. And that Mr. Burr and General Hamilton fought a duel, the latter was killed, &c., &c. I am happy to find that my worthy friend Captain Lewis is so well as to walk about with ease to himself, &c., and we made 60 miles today. The river much crowded with sand bars, which are very differently situated from what they were when we went up.
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.