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Journals of the Lewis and Clark Expedition

August 15, 1806
95.92% Complete
Aug 30, 1803 Sep 30, 1806

August 15, 1806

[Clark]

Thursday August 15th 1806 Continued Mandans Vilg [1]

after assembling the Chiefs and Smokeing one pipe, I informed them that I Still Spoke the Same words which we had Spoken to them when we first arived in their Country in the fall of 1804.    we then envited them to visit their great father the president of the U. States and to hear 〈their〉 his own Councils and receive his Gifts from his own hands as also See the population [2] of a government which Can at their pleasure protect and Secur you from all your enimies, and chastize all those who will Shut their years to 〈their〉 his Councils.    we now offer to take you at the expense of our Government and Send you back to your Country again with a considerable present 〈of〉 in merchendize which you will recive of your great Father. I urged the necessity of their going on with us as it would be the means of hastening those Supples of Merchindize which would be Sent to their Country and exchanged as before mentioned for a moderate price in Pelteries and furs &c.    the great Chief of the Menetaras Spoke, he Said he wished to go down and See his great father very much, but that the Scioux were in the road and would most certainly kill him or any others who Should go down they were bad people and would not listen to any thing which was told them.    when 〈we〉 he Saw us last we told him that we had made peaace with all the nations below, Since that time the Seioux had killed 8 of their people and Stole a number of their horses.    he Said that he had opened his ears and followed our Councils, he had made peace with the Chyennes and rocky mountains indians, and repieted the same objecctions as mentioned.    that he went to war against none and was willing to receive all nations as friends.    he Said that the Ricaras had Stolen from his people a number of horses at different times and his people had killed 2 Ricaras.    if the Sieoux were at peace with them and Could be depended on he as also other Chiefs of the villages would be glad to go and See their great father, but as they were all afraid of the Sieoux they Should not go down &c.

The Black Cat 〈sent〉 Chief of the Mandans Village on the North Side of the Missouri Sent over and requested me to go over to his village which envertation I axceptd and crossed over to his village.    he had a parcel of Corn about 12 bushuls in a pile in his lodge.    he told me that his people had but little corn part of which they had given me.    after takeing a Smoke he informed me that as the Sieoux were very troublesom and the road to his great father dangerous none of this village would go down with us. I told the Cheifs and wariers of the village who were there present that we were anxious that Some of the village Should go and See their great father and hear his good words & recve his bountifull gifts &c. and told them to pitch on Some Man on which they could rely on and send him to See their Great father, they made the Same objections which the Chief had done before.    a young man offered to go down, and they all agreeed for him to go down    the charector of this young man I knew as a bad one and made an objection as to his age and Chareckter    at this time Gibson who was with me informed me that this young man had Stole his knife and had it then in his possession, this I informed the Chief and directed him to give up the knife he delivered the knife with a very faint apology for his haveing it in his possession. I then reproached those people for wishing to Send Such a man to See and hear the words of So great a man as their great father; they hung their heads and Said nothing for Some time when the Cheif Spoke and Said that they were afraid to Send any one for fear of their being killed by the Sieux.    after Smoking a pipe and relateing Some passages I recrossed to our Camp—. [3]    being informed by one of our enterpreters that the 2d Chief of the Mandans Comonly Called the little Crow [4] intended to accompany us down, I took Charbono and walked to the Village to See this Chief and talk with him on the Subject.    he told me he had deturmined to go down, but wished to have a council first with his people which would be in the after part of the day. I smoked a pipe with the little Crow and returned to the boat. Colter one of our men expressed a desire to join Some trappers [NB: the two Illinois Men we met, & who now came down to us] who offered to become Shearers with and furnish traps &c.    the offer a very advantagious one, to him, his Services Could be dispenced with from this down and as we were disposed to be of Service to any one of our party who had performed their duty as well as Colter had done, we agreed to allow him the prvilage provided no one of the party would ask or expect a Similar permission to which they all agreeed that they wished Colter every Suckcess and that as we did not wish any of them to Seperate untill we Should arive at St. Louis they would not apply or expect it &c. [5] The Maharha Chief brought us Some Corn, as did also the Chief of the little village of the Menetarras on mules of which they have Several.    [NB: bought from the Crow Inds. who get or Steal them from the Spaniards] [6]    The evening is Cool and windy.    great number of the nativs of the different villages Came to view us and exchange robes with our men for their Skins—    we gave Jo Colter Some Small articles which we did not want and Some powder & lead.    the party also gave him Several articles which will be usefull to him on his expedittion.— This evening Charbono informed me that our back was scercely turned before a war party from the two menetarry villages followed on and attacked and killed the Snake Indians whome we had Seen and in the engagement between them and the Snake indians they had lost two men one of which was the Son of the principal Chief of the little village of the menitarras. [7]    that they had also went to war from the Menetarras and killeld two Ricaras.    he further informed me that a missunderstanding had taken place between the Mandans & minetarras and had verry nearly come to blows about a woman, the Mintarres at length presented a pipe and a reconsilliation took place between them

[Ordway]

Friday 15th August 1806.    a clear pleasant morning. Some of the party went at dressing themselves deer Skins &C.    the natives brought us corn and beans &C.    they brought us a breakfast of boild siniblins [8] & beans &C.    the 2 village of Mandans [9] gave us Considerable of corn and more than we would take away. Capt. Clark went over and tryed to perswade Some of the chief of that village to go down with us but they could not find any one willing to go with us.    the chiefs of the 1st village [10] wished us to Stay 1 or 2 days longer with them    we gave the Swivvel to the Big Belleys or Grousevauntaus.—

[Gass]

Friday 15th.    We had a fine clear pleasant morning, and continued here all day, to ascertain whether any of the chiefs would go down with us or not.— They had to hold councils among themselves, and we had to wait for their answers. [11] The two hunters [12] we left up the river came down, staid with us here, and got one of our party [13] to join in partnership with them, and to return up the rivers Missouri and Jaune to hunt.

1. Codex N begins with a list, about a page and a half long, of items sent to Washington from St. Louis; it has been placed in Postexpeditionary Miscellany. The first dated entry is for August 15, 1806, but as noted for August 14, there is in fact considerable doubt where the events of August 14 leave off and those of August 15 begin. This confusion is most unusual in the journals. (back)
2. The sheer numbers of whites in the East often impressed Western Indian chiefs more than anything else on their travels to Washington. (back)
3. For reflections on these negotiations, see Ronda (LCAI), 245–48. (back)
5. Colter spent another four years in the Rockies and on the upper Missouri. In his wanderings he had various hairbreadth escapes from the Blackfeet and considerably increased white knowledge of the region, especially the area of the Yellowstone Plateau and Jackson Hole. See Appendix A. Biddle added some reflections of his own to his account of this incident, which he thought "shows how easily men may be weaned from the habits of civilized life to the ruder but scarcely less fascinating manners of the woods." Coues (HLC), 3:1182; Harris. (back)
6. Whether the Crows went as far as New Mexico to steal mules from the Spanish settlements, or obtained them from other tribes closer to New Mexico, is not clear. The former is by no means impossible. (back)
8. Simlins, which are summer squashes. (back)
10. Big White, or Sheheke, and Little Crow were the principal chiefs of Mitutanka, but Clark seems to have visited only with Little Crow on this day. (back)
11. See Clark's entries of August 14 and 15. (back)
13. Colter. The next four years would give him fame as an explorer in his own right; see Clark's entry for the day. (back)
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Summary | 2 Annotations
. Colter one of our men expressed a desire to join Some trappers [NB: the two Illinois Men we met, & who now came down to us] who offered to become Shearers with and furnish traps &c.
2020/09/06 16:41
Colter spent another four years in the Rockies and on the upper Missouri. In his wanderings he had various hairbreadth escapes from the Blackfeet and considerably increased white knowledge of the region, especially the area of the Yellowstone Plateau and Jackson Hole. See Appendix A. Biddle added some reflections of his own to his account of this incident, which he thought "shows how easily men may be weaned from the habits of civilized life to the ruder but scarcely less fascinating manners of the woods." Coues (HLC), 3:1182; Harris. (back)
2020/09/06 16:42