||Jefferson, Thomas, 1743-1826
||Message from the President of the United States, Communicating Discoveries Made in Exploring the Missouri, Red River, and Washita, by Captains Lewis and Clark, Doctor Sibley, and Mr. Dunbar; with a Statistical Account of the Countries Adjacent
||Jefferson, Thomas. Message from the President of the United States, Communicating Discoveries Made in Exploring the Missouri, Red River, and Washita, by Captains Lewis and Clark, Doctor Sibley, and Mr. Dunbar; with a Statistical Account of the Countries Adjacent. (New York: Printed by Hopkins and Seymour, 1806).
||131 / 0
Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826), after an illustrious career as a
patriot of the American Revolutionary War, the author of the Declaration
of Independence, and Secretary of State, Jefferson was elected the
third President of the United States. As President, Jefferson brokered
the purchase of 828,000 square miles of land from France now known
as the Louisiana Purchase. To explore the new lands, Jefferson commissioned
Meriwether Lewis and William Clark to head an expedition into the
newly acquired lands.
Lewis and Clark Expedition of 1804-1806
For a thorough summary of the Lewis and Clark Expedition's historical
context and itinerary, and short biographies of both Clark and Lewis,
see the 44-page introduction in volume one (AJ-100a) of the Original
Journals of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, 1804-1806 by the
journals' editor, Reuben Gold Thwaites. For other documents related
to the expedition, see AJ-097, AJ-140, AJ-146, AJ-147, and AJ-160.
Jefferson’s Message, read in Congress on February 19,
1806, became the first separate publication of information from
the Lewis and Clark Expedition. It prints a long letter from Lewis
and a detailed table providing data about each Indian nation that
Lewis and Clark had met or learned about. Other reports were also
included from John Sibley (1757-1837), a physician who had settled
in Natchitoches, Louisiana, and began sending geographical information
to officials in Washington about 1803, and William Dunbar (1749-1810),
a Scottish-born scientist who emigrated to America in 1771 and settled
in Mississippi; he was commissioned by Jefferson to explore the
Ouachita (Washita) and Red River valleys.
The original edition of Jefferson's Message and companion
reports was published in Washington, D.C. in a quantity of only
one-thousand copies. These were rapidly consumed, and new editions
were therefore quickly printed, with other book-length versions
appearing in Washington, New York, Natchez, and London and extracts
in magazines in Philadelphia, Boston, and other cities. Bibliographical
details on the publishing history can be found on pages lxiii-lxv
of document AJ-100a; an update of this bibliography can be found
in The Literature of the Lewis and Clark Expedition: A Bibliography
and Essays (Portland, Oregon: Lewis & Clark College, 2003).
Other Internet and Reference Sources
The literature on Lewis and Clark is immense, both in print and
on the web. For an online summary of it, see the 1904 bibliography
by Victor Hugo Paltsits in document AJ-100a, pages lxi-xciii. This
should be supplemented by The Literature of the Lewis and Clark
Expedition: A Bibliography and Essays issued by Lewis and Clark
College in 2003, for twentieth-century publications.
A useful starting point for information about the expedition is
the Library of Congress online exhibit, "Rivers, Edens and Empires:
Lewis and Clark and the Revealing of America," at http://www.loc.gov/exhibits/lewisandclark/lewis-landc.html.
The National Archives has created many resources for teaching and
learning about Lewis and Clark within its "We the People" web site
lewis_and_clark.html. This includes digitized documents, background
texts, photographs, and lesson plans.
The official report of the expedition, Nicholas Biddle's 1814 History
of the Expedition Under the Command of Captains Lewis and Clark,
to the Sources of the Missouri, Thence Across the Rocky Mountains
and Down the River Columbia to the Pacific Ocean, is online
at the Library of Congress “Meeting of Frontiers” project at http://frontiers.loc.gov/intldl/mtfhtml/mfsplash.html.
Other documents relating to the expedition are part of its "Louisiana
Purchase Legislative Timeline" at http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/amlaw/louisiana5.html.
These include the House of Representatives report on the "Explorations
of the Western Waters of the United States" by Lewis and Clark,
various acts to compensate the explorers for their labors, and documents
concerning their appointments as governors of Missouri and Louisiana
after the expedition.
Two web sites built as part of the Lewis and Clark Expedition bicentennial
also contain helpful information and links. The U.S. government's
site at http://www.lewisandclark200.gov/
is a cooperative venture of 32 federal agencies. The non-governmental
National Council of the Lewis & Clark Bicentennial is a joint
effort by historical societies, Indian nations, scholars, businesses,
and all other interested parties; its web site is at http://www.lewisandclark200.org/.