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Entries For February 20:
Captain Lewis (current)
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This forenoon we were visited by Tabcum, a principal chief of the Chinooks, and 25 men of his nation. We had never seen this chief before. He is a good-looking man about 50 years of age, rather larger in stature than most of his nation. As he came on a friendly visit, we gave himself and party something to eat and plied them plentifully with smoke. We gave this chief a small medal, with which he seemed much gratified.
In the evening at sunset we desired them to depart, as is our custom, and closed our gates. We never suffer parties of such number to remain within the fort all night; for, notwithstanding their apparent friendly disposition, their great avarice and hope of plunder might induce them to be treacherous. At all events, we determined always to be on our guard as much as the nature of our situation will permit us, and never place ourselves at the mercy of any savages. We well know that the treachery of the aborigines of America and the too great confidence of our countrymen in their sincerity and friendship has caused the destruction of many hundreds of us.
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.