Thomas Jefferson Papers
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Thomas Jefferson to William Clark, 8 September 1816

To William Clark

Monticello Sep. 8. 16

Dear Sir

The travelling journal of Govr Lewis and yourself having been published some time ago, I had hoped to hear that something was doing with the astronomical observations, the Geographical chart, the Indian vocabularies, and other papers not comprehended in the journal published. with a view to have these given to the public according to the original intention, I got a friend to apply for them to mr Biddle, in whose hands I understood them to be, referring him for authority1 to the instructions inserted in the life of Govr Lewis prefixed to the journal. he said he could not deliver them even to the War-office, without an order from you. it is to sollicit this order that I now trouble you, and it may be given in favor either of the war office or of myself. if the latter, I should deliver the Astronomical observations to the Secretary at War, who would employ some one to make the calculations, to correct the longitudes of the map, and to have it published thus corrected; and I should deliver the papers of Natural history & the Vocabularies to the Philos. society at Philadelphia, who would have them properly edited, and I should deposit with them also for safekeeping the travelling pocket journals as originals to be recurred to on all interesting questions arising out of the published journal. I should recieve them only in trust for the War office to which they belong, and take their orders relating to them. I have recieved from Dr Barton’s exrs2 4. vols of the travelling pocket journals, but I think there were 11. or 12. the rest I suppose mr Biddle has. I hope the part I have had in this important voyage, will excuse the interest I take in securing to the world all the beneficial results we were entitled to expect from it, and which would so fully justify the expences of the expedition incurred by the United states in that expedition. I salute you with constant friendship and respect.

Th: Jefferson

RC (MoSHi: Clark Papers); addressed: “General William Clarke Governor of Missouri St Louis”; franked; postmarked Charlottesville, 9 Sept.; endorsed by Clark as answered 10 Oct. 1816. PoC (DLC); on verso of reused address cover of Thomas Appleton to TJ, 20 Mar. 1816; torn at seal; endorsed by TJ.

TJ’s friend was José Corrêa da Serra. The philos. society at philadelphia was the American Philosophical Society.

1Preceding two words interlined.

2Preceding four words interlined.

Index Entries

  • American Philosophical Society; and papers of Lewis and Clark Expedition search
  • astronomy; and observations of Lewis and Clark Expedition search
  • Barton, Benjamin Smith; and journals of M. Lewis search
  • Biddle, Nicholas; and Lewis and Clark Expedition search
  • Biddle, Nicholas; History of the Expedition under the command of Captains Lewis and Clark search
  • books; on Lewis and Clark Expedition search
  • Clark (Clarke), William; and journals of Lewis and Clark Expedition search
  • Clark (Clarke), William; and papers of Lewis and Clark Expedition search
  • Clark (Clarke), William; letters to search
  • Corrêa da Serra, José; and papers of Lewis and Clark Expedition search
  • History of the Expedition under the command of Captains Lewis and Clark (N. Biddle) search
  • Indians, American; languages search
  • Indians, American; M. Lewis’s vocabularies of search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Writings; Biography of Meriwether Lewis search
  • language; Indian (American) search
  • Lewis, Meriwether; and publication of journals search
  • Lewis, Meriwether; papers of search
  • Lewis, Meriwether; TJ’s biography of search
  • Lewis, Meriwether; TJ’s instructions for Lewis and Clark Expedition to search
  • Lewis and Clark Expedition; and Indian vocabularies search
  • Lewis and Clark Expedition; astronomical observations of search
  • Lewis and Clark Expedition; journals of search
  • Lewis and Clark Expedition; maps of search
  • Lewis and Clark Expedition; publication of journals search
  • maps; of Lewis and Clark Expedition search
  • War Department, U.S.; and papers of Lewis and Clark Expedition search