Thomas Jefferson Papers

Meriwether Lewis: Estimated Costs of Missouri River Expedition, 18 January 1803

Meriwether Lewis: Estimated Costs of Missouri River Expedition

[before 18 Jan. 1803]

Recapitulation of an estimate of the sum necessary to carry into effect the Missie. expedicion.—

Mathematical Instruments $217.–
Arms & Accoutrements extraordinary 81.–
Camp Ecquipage 255.–
Medecine & packing 55.–
Means of transportation 430.–
Indian presents 696.–
Provisions extraordinary 224.–
Materials for making up the various articles
into portable packs
} 55.–
For the pay of hunters guides & Interpreters 300.–
In silver coin to defray the expences of the party from
Nashville to the last white settlement on the Missisourie
} 100.–
Contingencies 87.–
Total $2,500.–

MS (DLC: TJ Papers, 116:19946); entirely in Lewis’s hand; undated; endorsed by TJ: “Lewis Meriwether. Estimate Missouri.” Not recorded in SJL.

total: it is likely that Lewis prepared these figures before 18 Jan., when TJ requested an appropriation of $2,500 in his confidential message to Congress about the proposed western expedition. In the spring of 1803, Lewis got some equipment for the expedition at the Harpers Ferry armory, obtained supplies from the government stores at Philadelphia, and had the purveyor of public goods there purchase items that he could not obtain by other means. The purveyor’s office recorded $412.95 spent for mathematical instruments; $182.08 for arms, ammunition, and accoutrements; $116.68 for camp equipage; $94.49 for medicines; $669.50 for presents for Indians; $366.70 for provisions; and $317.73 for clothing (Jackson, Lewis and Clark description begins Donald Jackson, ed., The Letters of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, with Related Documents, 1783-1854, 2d ed., Urbana, Ill., 1978 description ends , 1:8–9, 93; TJ to the Senate and the House of Representatives, 18 Jan., first message; Lewis to TJ, 20 Apr.).

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